The Avalanches, Eddie Vedder, Neil Finn and Missy Higgins lead an impressive cast of contributors for a new album which pays tribute to the works of veteran Australian pub rock group Hunters & Collectors.
The 15-track set “The Crucible” will arrive Down Under on Sept. 27 through Liberation Music, a division of Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom Group of Companies. Digital pre-orders start from Aug. 9.
Formed in Melbourne in 1981, Hunters & Collectors enjoyed a brilliant career in their homeland where they released nine studio albums, three live albums and numerous EPs and singles, before bowing out in 1998.
Led from the front by rugged singer Mark Seymour, the group’s legacy was recognized in 2005 when they were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.
The inclusion of enigmatic cut-and-paste electronic outfit Avalanches on “The Crucible” should set tongues wagging. The Melbourne outfit will offer a reworked version of “Talking to a Stranger,” originally a Hunters & Collectors release in 1982.
It’s been more than a decade since the Avalanches released their celebrated album “Since I Left You,” and there’s been little in the way of recordings ever since. A follow-up was scrapped, but their label chief Modular Recordings’ Steve “Pav” Pavlovic has told Billboard the official sophomore set wasn’t far off. Two years ago, Pav told Billboard: “Most of the album is there, it just needs some tweaking to the production elements. But the structure and songs are all done. We’ll probably see a song from it this year.” Still, no release date has been announced. But this Hunters & Collectors project suggests the Avalanches are active (they have also contributed music to the King Kong stage show) and there should be more to come.
The tribute album also carries a blockbuster collaboration of Eddie Vedder and Neil Finn on “Throw Your Arms Around Me.” For Finn, it’s a fitting song for a number of reasons. Finn’s breakthrough band Split Enz was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame on the same night as Hunters & Collectors. The connection, however, runs much deeper. The bass player in Finn’s subsequent group Crowded House — Nick Seymour — is the younger brother of Hunters and Collectors frontman Mark. And the song “Throw Your Arms Around Me” was a hit first for Hunters and Collectors (in 1984) and later as a cover for Crowded House.
“I, along with the cream of great musicians from all around this country and beyond have been given a wonderful opportunity to come together and pay our respects,” comments Gudinski in a statement. “And what an utterly amazing legacy it is, revisited and reinterpreted by their admirers more than 30 years from where it began and for the generations of music fans that will follow.”
“Crucible – The Songs Of Hunters & Collectors” Track Listing:
1. Birds of Tokyo – Talking to a Stranger
2. Eddie Vedder & Neil Finn – Throw Your Arms Around Me
3. Matt Corby & Missy Higgins – This Morning
4. Oh Mercy – The Slab (Betty’s Worry)
5. Alpine – Hear No Evil
6. The Living End – Say Goodbye
7. Paul Kelly & Emma Donovan (featuring Jimblah) – True Tears of Joy
8. The Rubens – Holy Grail
9. Husky – Blind Eye
10. Something For Kate – When the River Runs Dry
11. The Panics – Alligator Engine
12. Abbe May – Dog
13. British India – Do You See What I See?
14. Cloud Control – Still Hanging ‘Round
15. The Avalanches – Stalking to a Stranger (Planets Collide Remix)