On a 7-song debut EP released in 2010, Chapel Hill newcomers Wylie Hunter & the Cazadores served notice they were to be taken seriously. Frontman and songwriter Hunter, a Greensboro native, wrote from the somewhat green perspective of a kid in his early 20s, because, well, he was in his early 20s. But you believed him when he sang, such was the sheer passion and dedication in his voice.
“Someone You Used To Know,” released Feb. 3 as a single to advance the band’s upcoming album of the same name, picks up where that EP left off and shows a step forward. Some bitterness has seeped through the cracks in Hunter’s valiant facade; the girl got away and left him wrecked, but he vows to bounce back. “I’m not broken,” Hunter assures, “I’m still chasing down my dreams.” His bandmatesguitarist William Taylor, bassist Seth Barden and drummer Paul Fisherlock in behind their leader with equal parts power and precision, driving home a near-perfect four-minute salvo of old-school rock ‘n’ roll.
The flip side, “Tattoo’d Girls,” is more playful musically, from its sly piano intro to its swinging chorus hook to its title characters’ “ink-stained skin and their mischievous grins.” If it testifies to the band’s versatility, it also reveals Hunter still has a ways to go as a lyricist; the end result feels more like novelty fare that’s not built to last like the A-side. Still, taken together, these two tracks suggest the Cazadores’ new disc may push them further toward the destiny Hunter seems fiercely determined to reach.