Hunger and Thirst

Listening to this highly recommended 10-person (or more) collective from Portland, Ore., it's hard not to feel they're destined for bigger things. Currently unsigned and lauded as one of the Pacific Northwest's better live acts, Hunger and Thirst manages to somehow capture the band's sprawling soundscapes and package them into one engrossing, thoroughly inventive album.

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"Starting Over (Bad Habits)" starts things off with a shaker, followed by sparse, broken percussion, then a few ragged strums of electric guitar. "I've started a new beginning," frontman Kyle Morton finally sings. "Suspiciously like the old one, only this time I'm ready." That slow-brewed introduction then gives way to the band's signature big sound—horns, strings and vocal harmonies that zigzag into a climactic chorus. It's an ideal start to an intriguing overall effort.

More than anything, Hunger and Thirst shows a band capable of whipping listeners into a frenzy (the boot-stomping, clap-heavy "Mouth of the Cave" or the catchy "CPR/Claws Pt. 2") or letting them down softly (the gospel-inspired "Ghost Train"). Whichever way the next song leaned, I was hooked, and wherever Typhoon goes from here, I'll follow.

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