Review Summary: Receiving End of Sirens front man channels Thrice, Muse and P!ATD with this high concept disc.
The Dear Hunter’s Act I is truly a modern epic. In the tradition of ancient bards and George Lucas, the 21st century Punk band weave a fascinating tale of perilous escape on their debut recording, an 8 track concept EP. The lyrics tell of the terrifying flee of a central group of characters, through what appears to be a high security death camp of some sort (or it could just be another album about a breakup. Who the heck knows). Musically the Dear Hunter is a melting pot of many of today’s alt rock bands, combining elements of Muse, Panic! at the Disco, Thrice, Dredg and The Mars Volta. Is it an Alt. Press editor’s wet dream? Pretty much, but the sheer fact that a modern rock band can bring this much to the table and still walk away with an original sound is pretty impressive.
Then again, in a day and age when guitar heavy pop-rock rules the charts, the airwaves and the diaries of every little sister who been done wrong by her boyfriend, a band that can begin a CD with an entirely a cappella song and then an entirely instrumental song (without any guitars!) is gonna stick out like a sore thumb. But the Dear Hunter do it so ***ing well (at least for a few songs anyway), it’s near unbelievable. Battesimo Del Fuoco (Italian for Baptism of the Fire) sounds like Dustin Kensrue’s ghost summoning the winds of the west to join him in singing praise to the gods of rock, while The Lake South (instrumental) sounds like Danny Elfman composing a song for The Lord of the Rings. It’s all very confusing stuff, especially when City Escape comes in. The EP’s third track blends Dredg’s heavy art rock with vocals that sound very reminiscent of Brendan Urie (that’s the guy from Panic! At the Disco). “Plagued by practical and a mercenary lust they tear at her skin” screams Casey Crescenzo (The album’s producer, vocalist and, for the most part, instrumentalist, formerly of Post-Hardcore group, The Receiving End of Sirens), in a sort of call and response with a gang of back-up singers, who add a very cabaret feel with their moans of “The trouble began, but never ended”.
If this second paragraph leaves you feeling like you know absolutely nothing about this band’s sound than I assure you, I tried. It can not be stressed how many different sounds the Dear Hunter blend. Throughout the first half of the album the band goes from Post-Hardcore to Classical, to electronica and back. Its hard to tell when the album will sound like the Ragtime meets At the Drive-In choruses of The Inquiry of Ms. Terri to the organic, heavily cinematic Panic! covers Bjork verses of 1878. The one thing that stays true through the entire album is the lack of unrecognizable sounds (despite how randomly they are placed) and the fact that many a song goes on a bit too long.
The first half of Act I (full title Act I: The Lake South, The River North) is nothing short of breathtaking, an artist’s rendition of today’s music scene underneath the lyricism of a true pro, but during the second half things just get a little tiresome. The final two songs are no where near as original as the first two (the first half of His Hands Matched His Tongue is a stone cold Say Anything ripoff) and the album’s other instrumental and album closer (The River North) is just boring. If it was Casey’s plan all along to make an ever so faulted (but oh so sing-a-longable) Prog Rock EP than he succeeded, but I still hope he can pull things together more on his next release. Good, but not great.
Awesome review, this is a pretty good album, not sure whether it's post-hardcore.. it sounds sort of like faux-prog rock to my ears.
That intro riff to 'City Escape' especially sounds like it was ripped out of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's book.
I didn't put TDH in Post-Hardcore, I just added the secondary genre (progressive).
And to Cush, I haven't listened to very much REOS, just a little bit to help with this review. What would you call them? Thanks for the comments guys.
I would say they're post hardcore, but they blend a fair amount of electronic elements and progressive ideas. They're under rock here, which is probably the best bet since they blend a fair amount of styles.
So, I listened to three tracks, "City Escape," "Battesimo del Fuoco," and "Black Sandy Beaches" (the last track isn't on the EP I suppose). For me, this band is just another Gatsby's American Dream rip off. For some reason it's now cool to be pop punk and be influenced by prog, classic rock, or more artsy indie-infused pop punk (see Matchbook Romance, My Chemical Romance, From First to Last). I trace this all back to In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 and Ribbons and Sugar. This band just rips off of all of the diminished, half diminished chords, and dominant sevenths that were popularized (and executed more successfully) by GAD, Circa Survive, and As Cities Burn. Also, the chorus on Fuoco sucksssss. Wow that was as bad as watching the youtube of Emocapella singing "Cute without the E."