The Hunna – ‘I’d Rather Die Than Let You In’

By Yasmin Brown

While it’s not clear as to exactly when it happened, there’s no denying that The Hunna have become one of the biggest names in British rock music. Brixton Academy has all but become their second home, and under normal circumstances, you’d see them sitting on an eclectic range of festival lineups all summer long. In either one of these settings you’ll find no end to the sea of people emphatically screaming every lyric back at the musicians on stage, and with two faultless albums already under their belt, is it really any wonder?

How, then, is album three ever supposed to live up to such strong debut and sophomore albums? Is it really possible we’ll find a new ‘She’s Casual’ or ‘Babe, Can I Call?’ – two tracks that have become life staples for the band’s fans? 

The answer, simply put, is yes. 

Our expectations were high, but they have been more than met – superseded, even – and it takes mere seconds for you to realise that this is indeed the case. Where ‘Dare’ articulated the most intense of all heartaches, ‘I’d Rather Die Than Let You In’ will encourage you to embrace your frustration and anger, and to let it out whenever and wherever you can – each song more of an emotional outlet than the last. 

It’s different, for sure, but in the best possible way. After all, what band wants to continue to release the same album time and time again? It’s clear from the offset as we take in the slow, instrumental introduction to ‘One Hell of a Gory Story’ that we’re about to see The Hunna as we’ve never seen them before, its synthetic heartbeats leading into aggressive spoken word that addresses the world’s greed and the hate that it breeds. From the get go, you’ll find yourself a far cry from the melodically driven tracks that have made up much of the band’s catalogue until now, but if you’re still on the fence about this new direction, you’re about to be forced to jump one way or another.

The rawness that you find in the opening track continues into the fast paced ‘I Wanna Know’, but this time anger intertwines with lust, emotions that are only fuelled further by the filthiest of riffs. It’s a cathartic track that’s made for the live show, to the point where you simply know the exact moment during the instrumental where the crowd will lose whatever is left of their minds. 

In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a song on the record that you can’t imagine translating perfectly to the live stage, and it’s exactly what makes The Hunna such a strong band. You can just as easily blast these songs in your car alone as you can scream along to them in a field with thousands of strangers. Their versatility knows no bounds, a fact that only becomes more apparent when you reach the huge, anthemic chorus of the Joshua Dun collaboration, ‘Dark Times’ – a desperate plea for change in the abysmal world in which we find ourselves. 

And if The Hunna’s new, synth-rock sound still wasn’t quite enough, the band push themselves even further with autotune effects in the verses of ‘One Second Left’. An already stunning voice, this autotune acts only as a supplement to the band’s sound ahead of the short and sweet chorus. It’s one of the most experimental tracks on ‘I’d Rather Die’, and may well end up being the ‘Marmite’ of the album, so to speak, particularly given that it precedes what might be the record’s strongest contribution, ‘Lost’. 

Here, the band impeccably combines dance and rock, the insane drum beats maintaining those rock foundations while the electronic elements send your mind into a frenzy, still reeling when the album’s tone settles for a few moments with the two most melancholy tracks, ‘One Day You’ll Thank Me’ and ‘If This Is Love’, featuring Phem. In the former, sadness seeps into every element of the song – the riffs, the beat, the vocals, the lyrics – and as a result, it fills every part of you, lending itself perfectly to the latter, wherein female vocals create a two-person narrative that tells yet another relatable story of heartbreak and unrequited love. The use of synths and vocoder effects result in something more atmospheric and layered, and it’s clear just how much The Hunna have grown over the years, opening themselves up to learning from their collaborators without losing what has always made them so special. 

Whatever respite these two tracks had to offer, however, is short lived as ‘Anything is Better Than Nothing’ provides the heaviest, Bring Me-esque riffs of the record, and the Travis Barker collaboration ‘Cover You’ is the pop-punk track we’ve always wanted from The Hunna (even if we didn’t know it), its fast pace and killer chorus refusing to disappoint. Try as you might, there’s simply no way you’ll resist obsession with these two heavier, more sonically aggressive tracks. 

While ‘Cover You’ is a more personal piece about having someone’s back, ‘Horror’ brings us back to a more worldly view, an apt take on what we’re doing to the planet with a timely focus on the forest fires in California. Where ‘Dark Times’ makes you wish for a better world, ‘Horror’ makes you want to take action and to make your own little bit of difference wherever you can – a call to action using the most effective of tools.

Refusing to allow us to dwell too much, however, The Hunna close off ‘I’d Rather Die’ on a high with the album’s title track. It provides a last laugh, both for the band themselves and for the listener, suggesting that perhaps holding a grudge is okay because at the end of the day, moral high ground or not, we’ll still be laughing from the top of the world. And that’s exactly where this band will be once fans gets their hands on this record – laughing from the very top of the world.

YASMIN BROWN

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