hunters and collectors

Thirty years ago, in the summer of 1988, Hunters & Collectors released the U.S. edition of their fifth studio album. The Australian band was a reasonable commercial force in their homeland, routinely delivering albums that charted in the Top 20 and singles that made — or at least approached — the Top 40. Stateside, they had recently signed with I.R.S. Records, the independent label that made dominance on college radio their model through much of the nineteen-eighties. The album What’s a Few Men?, released in Australia in 1987, was determined by the executives to have too strong of a Down Under vibe, so it was retitled Fate and a couple new tracks were recorded, including the fantastic “Back on the Breadline,” which served as a s single.

Fate largely succeeded according to the I.R.S. Records model, charting singles and making a healthy overall showing on the CMJ charts. Multiple tracks — including “You Can Have It All” — skewed closely enough to the yearning, anthemic style popularized by U2. Like just about everyone else, college programmers always had room for bands that reminded them of the the music they already liked. Although Fate did well, there were evidently hopes for greater crossover success. By the time of the band’s next album — Ghost Nation, released in 1989 — they had a new American label, Atlantic, that also couldn’t figure out a way to fully crack the bonanza code of The Joshua Tree. Before breaking up at the end of the nineteen-nineteens, Hunters & Collectors released three more albums that did bang-up business in Australia. But in the U.S., they were little more than an afterthought.

Listen or download —> Hunters & Collectors, “You Can Have It All”

(Disclaimer: While there appears to be loads and loads of Hunters & Collectors collections released in Australia over the years, a presumably a healthy enough trade in the original albums, I believe their recordings to be out of print in the U.S., at least as physical objects that can be procured from your favorite local, independently owned record store in a manner than compensates both the artist and the proprietor of said shop. I am not presenting this file — shared under the legal precedent of fair use — as a replacement for engaging in commerce. In fact, I think you should go buy some new records right now. I just don’t think this is a viable candidate for that purchase. I do know the rules. I will gladly and promptly remove this file from my little corner of the digital world if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request.)

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