Proper Records (label)
04 September 2012 (released)
31 August 2012
Given that the US election is just weeks away now, and Barack Obama is coming to the end of his first (and possibly his last) term, Ian Hunter has taken quite sometime to cheer up, or at least release an album that is not as politically angry as his last couple. 2009’s man Overboard and 2007’s Shrunken Heads contained angry ranting about George W Bush, but Hunter says the mood is lifted on this his 20th album of original songs.
The fact that he seems to be enjoying himself so much on When I’m President is obvious, and a relief that he no longer feels the need to rant. However his Rant Band are still in tow and sounding in fine form, especially on the likes of soaring bluesy ballad Black Tears. It is a song of almost equal quality to some of his classics like Once Bitten Twice Shy or All The Young Dudes.
Elsewhere there are tracks that are reminiscent of John Mellencamp (Saint), straightforward country rock (When I’m President) and moments to make you smile, like the all out cheeky rock of What For. Wild Bunch is similarly straight from a sawdust laden bar and shares the same tongue in cheek rock feel, while the delightful Just the Way You Look Tonight paints some lovely pictures; “She never bothers with the finest clothes, she couldn’t care less about the buttons and her bows, she says what counts is what’s inside”.
Hunter sounds as good as he did almost 40 years ago, and across the eleven tracks there is always a smile just around the corner, even on the darker and moody tracks like Ta Shunka Witco (Crazy Horse). The ranting is over and the smile is back and that is a good thing.