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The Dear Hunter New Album Review - The Color Spectrum

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The Dear Hunter

July 24, 2011. The Dear Hunter, an alternative rock band from Providence, RI, released The Color Spectrum on June 14, 2011.  Almost two years after their last release (Act III: Life and Death) front man Casey Crescenzo deviates from The Dear Hunter’s conventional sound and embarks on an ambitious musical expedition. The Color Spectrum is an eclectic collection of four song EP’s translating the colors into music.  Using the ROYGBIV visible spectrum with the additions of black and white, The Dear Hunter delivers an amazingly varied 9 EP collection with 36 songs in total.

Black EP – Black is a heavily percussion oriented EP accompanied by extensive bass guitar.  It has ominous lyrics that illustrate an encumbering emotional restlessness.  “We’re tethered to the hull of a sinking ship, scratching for a breath at the surface, praying for the ropes to slip,” sings Crescenzo in an almost robotic voice.  Black addresses the malevolence that besets others.  In “This Body” Crescenzo expresses his discontent and decay of himself: “This body’s not a temple, it’s a prison, and every wall inside here is on fire.”  After listening to it, Black successfully paints the picture of impending evil and the futility of halting it.

Red EP – The Red EP is heated with deliberate drumming, harsh sounding guitar and angry vocals.  Red was recorded near Atlanta, GA where resident band Manchester Orchestra provided Crescenzo with supplementary instrumentals and vocals. There is an omnipresent sense of intensity and urgency in Red.  In “Deny it All” you can feel the fuming resentment in lyrics such as “Nursing stale history and the apathy it brings / Too fascinated by the most material things / While we wait carefully and see.”  Manchester Orchestra front man Andy Hull provides vocals that underlie Crescenzo’s and even occasionally will stand alone.  Hull frustratingly pleads “Wait, stay, pick it up if you want me please / I couldn’t do it alone / Fake place, I knew you had it in you,” in “I Couldn’t Do it Alone.” Through all four songs, Red maintains an impassioned and angry energy throughout.

 

Orange EP – Orange seems to be a tapering off of the energy provided in Red.  You can still feel passion and intensity but this time it’s giving off more positive vibes.  Crescenzo is still upset but you can tell he is approaching it differently this time.  “But There’s Wolves,” tells of frustration and indecision in a relationship, but instead of anger, Crescenzo expresses mild apathy: “In just a moment we can let it all decay, or we can step out into the sun.” Orange also has a vintage rock feel to it.  You can especially hear a resemblance to 80’s era rock in the second track “Stuck on a Wire Out on a Fence,” through the guitar distortion and flow of the lyrics. Although it is not as impressive as the other EP’s, Orange manages to serve as a good transition into Yellow.

Yellow EP – The Yellow EP is upbeat and filled with cheerful vigor.  Yellow just feels like summer.  The EP opens with “She’s Always Singing,” which is an uplifting proclamation of love: “Every other lover in this city has got their song to sing, but none of them ring in my ear.”  Yellow doesn’t stop there; the chorus of “The Dead Don’t Starve,” sounds very similar to Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” and it’s just as upbeat and carefree.  In “Misplaced Devotion,” Crescenzo is trying to persuade a former lover that her true happiness resides with him rather than her current lover.  Crescenzo’s encouraging vocals sound as if he is genuinely elated to be with her: “Hey girl, lets lose ourselves today / We can go anywhere we need to get away / Say the word and we’ll turn around and leave this place behind.” Yellow does an excellent job of delivering songs that will be sure to give you a sense of buoyancy and put a grin on your face.

Green EP – Green primarily utilizes acoustic guitar and snare with minimal assistance from other instruments, giving Green a calm and folky feel.   The lyrics of Green are more matured and inquisitive than the other colors.  In “Thing Things that Hide Away,” you can hear the philosophical curiosity: “Letting out a soft cynical sigh… / Why are we here? Why do we die?  / Maybe we’re just never meant
to know why.”  There is still happiness and love, but they have aged and developed.  In “The Canopy,” Crescenzo wistfully sings, “I had fallen in your lap with my head tilted back so I can see the sun eclipsed by your hair that left a halo hanging.” Green closes with “The Inheritance,” which details finally leaving the nest and facing reality: “We had our run, now you’re old enough to go run down your track so don’t look back. / I know it’s hard but it’s not my problem anymore.”  Green’s organic sound and matured lyrics are summed up in the chorus of “The Canopy,” as Crescenzo sings: “Slow down, take time and see the forest for the leaves.”

Blue EP – Blue gives a sense of isolation with the seemingly far away vocals and the deliberate guitar.  In Blue you can tell that Crescenzo is taking an emotional inventory.  He lets it all out in “Trapdoor,” where he sings: “Darling please don’t abandon me, please just take a breath and see that not everything is lost and the profit will outweigh the cost.”  One certainly feels blue when listening to “Tripping in Triplets.”  Crescenzo vocalizes his uncertainty spawned from a faulty relationship: “Two left feet on the floor in a waltz in an odd tempo. / … You gave me a heart and then taught me to hurt.”  Blue delivers four ballads that feel both calmly aquatic and melancholy.

Indigo EP –Indigo is entirely different from everything that The Dear Hunter has ever produced.  Indigo relies on digital percussion and instrumentation to take you into a psychedelic dream world.  Lyrically, Indigo is about intense reflection on relationships. In “Mandala,” Crescenzo sings “Your eyes are barely wide enough to recognize what your heart keeps giving up. / And someday it might win if your mind’s giving in.”  The essence of Indigo is perfectly captured in “What Time Taught Us.”  The synthesis of the digital percussion along with Crescenzo’s vocals makes for an excellent song.  Indigo only has three songs with vocals (the exception is “Therma”) but Indigo is just as poignant than the other colors.

Violet EP – Violet sounds the most familiar to fans of The Dear Hunter.  Utilizing theatrical string movements, piano and horns, Violet is very reminiscent of Acts I and II. The most outstanding track on Violet is “Lillian.”  Crescenzo makes a beautiful metaphor comparing a failing romance to cameras and film: “She was stuck in pictures, while he passed time in film.”  Violet is heavily influenced by regret and remorse.  In “Too Late,” Crescenzo sings about a brief and seemingly scandalous romantic encounter: “Breathing in one last breath as I inhale the scent of you… / A haunting suggestion of you on the tip of my tongue.”  Overall, Violet continues to maintain the sounds and themes of The Dear Hunter

White EP – White is the refreshing culmination of everything in The Color Spectrum.  White is slow paced, but that doesn’t make it any less of a grand finale.  The lyrics of White are filled with relief and acceptance as a result of the subjects touched on in the previous colors.  In “No God,” Crescenzo accepts reason rather than religion as the source of knowledge: “No promise of heaven kept me warm when my mother tucked me in.” Taking the topic of acceptance further, “Home,” deals with the acceptance of death and how it is not just a harsh end: “Now in the end it’s coming clear, you’re not alone. / ‘Cause everyone you ever loved is waiting here for you, so don’t give up.”  After listening to all of the colors in progression, White is a most fitting ending to The Color Spectrum.

The Dear Hunter is touring! Click HERE to find tickets on Ticketmaster  and check out The Dear Hunter official website


Download on Amazon The Color Spectrum [+Digital Booklet]

Get The Color Spectrum on iTunes!


THE COLOR SPECTRUM consists of songs inspired by the colors of the spectrum, specifically RED, ORANGE, YELLOW, GREEN, BLUE, INDIGO and VIOLET, with WHITE and BLACK being included as bookends.  Casey Crescenzo, mastermind of The Dear Hunter, completed the EPs while traveling the U.S., documenting every step of the process.   The collection will feature collaborations with several producers and musicians, including Manchester Orchestra, Brendan Brown from The Receiving End of Sirens, Mike Watts (who has worked with As Tall As Lions and he mixed The Dear Hunter’s 2009 album, ACT III: LIFE AND DEATH), and Steve Haigler (Brand New, As Tall As Lions, Quicksand).

 


 

Last Updated on Monday, 30 January 2012 15:11  
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