Ian Hunter – Defiance Part2: Fiction (Sun) (Album Review)

With his 85th birthday less than two months away, Ian Hunter just keeps on rocking and Defiance Part 2: Fiction finds him getting some high-profile help, not that he needs it.

The former Mott The Hoople front man has been cranking out a string of classy, quality solo releases since the band broke up back in 1974, often working with his best buddy, Mick Ronson.

Sadly, Ronno is long gone, but Ian still has plenty of friends, including members of Queen, Cheap Trick, Stone Temple Pilots, Def Leppard, Pearl Jam along with Jeff Beck and Taylor Hawkins, both of whom made some of their last recordings for this record before shuffling off to that great rock and roll club in the sky.

It was just a year ago that Hunter released Defiance, Part 1, another star-studded affair. But according to the accompanying press notes, Ian felt it was important to get this collection out before the November US presidential elections. Songs like People, Fiction and The 3rd Rail find Hunter, who has been living in The States since the mid-70s, casting his eye over the current political landscape.

“I was trying to avoid all that on PART 1,” Hunter says, “but on PART 2, it caught up with me. Most of those were written two or three years back, so I wanted to get it all out before whatever takes hold in November. It would be dated after the fact.”

Album opener finds our hero railing against those who are after our “hearts and minds” while Rick Nielson’s guitar cuts through like a buzz saw. Its catchy as hell…the man still knows how to write a great rock and roll song.

Musically, he and his mates aren’t pushing any boundaries; they are simply telling it like it is, lyrically and sonically.

Former Dylan side man David Mansfield adds strings to Fiction while ex-Mott keyboard player Morgan Fisher is tickling the ivories. “Any reason to believe is all you need, so you believe in fiction”, Hunter growls at who?…conspiracy theorists? MAGA fanatics?…I think you get the picture.

The late, great Jeff Beck rips a solo on The 3rd Rail while Lucinda Williams duets with Hunter on What Would I Do Without You.

Lead single, Precious, is probably the most immediately satisfying track with Taylor Hawkins, Brian May, Joe Elliott and James Mastro backing Ian, who is on piano.

Hunter even throws in his trademark, “Hello, hello, hello” to get Everybody’s Crazy But Me started  and then sings, “no more Mott The Hoople”. That’s all right, I’m still glowing from the 2009 reunion shows in London.

On Defiance Part2: Fiction, Hunter takes the listener on a trip starting with cynicism and ending with optimism.

And Ian Hunter still has plenty of music in him, with a third instalment of his Defiance project already in the works. Here’s to much more music from Ian Hunter.


Marty Duda

Defiance Part2: Fiction is released on Friday,  April 19 on Sun Records.

Look for a special Record Store Day version to be issued on April 20th with three bonus tracks, including Needle Park, featuring Black Crowes Chris and Rich Robison and How’d You Like To Meet Henry with Mike and Mike from Pearl Jam.

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