Just as Richard Hawley creates albums that seem beamed in directly from some time during the 1950s, James Hunter equally pulls off the trick of rekindling the vibe of some long forgotten soul album, without appearing cliched, ironic or cabaret.
I think "People Gonna Talk" is an exceptionally impressive record. The ingredients for a strong album are all there; it's brilliantly played by an understanding team of musicians and recorded wonderfully, and sympathetically, by Liam Watson in Toe Rag Studios (this being the man the White Stripes favour for his love and admiration of vintage recording equipment, which fits the music here perfectly).
Perhaps Hunter's strongest achievement is his restraint. Despite a hefty quota of great songs this is a record that consciously avoids flashy tricks or throwing in any obviously commercial "hit" songs. The band, and music, keep things reined in - only letting go at just the right moment. For example, Hunter's razor sharp guitar work, employed only on occasional numbers, appears in rather fleeting, exciting bursts. The real punch though is kept for his vocals, where his smooth but smoky phrasing fits the musical era he's trying to conjure. Hunter might remind you of Sam Cooke, but he doesn't imitate him.
By avoiding any obvious 'showing off', or using corny lyrical sentiments, Hunter and his band have crafted an impressive, enjoyable and extremely cool record.