Review Summary: The Dear Hunter's vaulting ambitions really payed off with this release, and the result is fantastic! Highly recommended.
Ambitious undertakings such as this one have been known to often either suffer from their own emulation or turn out to be a huge triumph and landmark for the artist. Fortunately, you can mark the complete Color Spectrum as the latter, as they accomplish exactly what they were going for with this record, a powerfully emotional record that is colorful in tone and emotion. Throughout the EP, this collection encompasses so many different shades and styles that a listener would probably find a song for any mood. That is the real magic of this release. The Dear Hunter took on a really ambitious project this time and succeeded with flying colors. (see what I did there)
Black showcases a very gritty, intense aspect of The Dear Hunter, but in a very different way than in their previous records. In the "Act" albums, they most often rely on intense rock elements for the angrier, more aggressive songs, but for Black the focus is more on crushing drum beats, subtle electronics, gritty and distorted vocals and aggressive melodies. In this way, Black comes off as just about as intense as any of the heavier rock songs they have ever done. It's still very Dear Hunter, but in a very new way. A strong track from this EP is "Filth and Squalor", bubbling with subtle anger and fervor the whole way through.
Red and Orange showcase more of the intensity that was heard in Black in a more lively and fervent way. Both EPs take on the rocking style slightly reminiscent of certain tracks on their last record, Act III, but in a fierier, almost bluesy way. Driving powerchords and gritty, shouting vocals characterize both. These are the two most similar EPs in the collection, but Red is noticeably more upbeat, while Orange is a slower and bluesier form of rock, while still just as intense. Standouts are We’ve Got a Score to Settle and A Sea of Solid Earth, from Red and then Orange, respectively.
After 3 EPs of some of the most intense music the Dear Hunter has released, the next 3 bring about a much more mellow approach. Yellow takes the music in a bright and cheerful direction, having the feeling of being saturated in sunlight and warmth. It contains the most catchy song on the album, She’s Always Singing, which could certainly grab one unfamiliar with the band instantly. The whole EP recalls The Beatles, particularly. Though it has one of the few weak tracks on the collection, The Dead Don’t Starve, Misplaced Devotion is one of the very best on the album, encompassing the bright, happy moments of the album perfectly. It’s an absolutely wonderful song.
Green brings out a mellow, mostly happy, folky sound. The sound is very natural and acoustic, which fits perfectly with the respective color. The Inheritance is a particularly lovely song. Blue is the weakest of the EPs, but it is still full of fantastic moments. The general mood of it seems to bring about the ocean, particularly at nighttime. It seems like it’d be perfect for rowing out into the ocean on a canoe at midnight. The Collapse of the Great Tide Cliffs is the strongest track from it, with a wonderful majestic, oceanic sound brought about by delay-heavy electric guitars and a nice little organ.
Indigo is a definite highlight as far as EPs are concerned. Full of lush, beautiful electronic music, it shows another side of The Dear Hunter that hasn’t been explored. They do a fantastic job with electronic music for a band that has hardly dabbled in it. A favorite is “Progress”, with its lovely vocal harmonies, melodies, and quiet electronic beats.
Violet shows a very dramatic, almost theatrical style for the Dear Hunter, complete with supplementary strings and some fantastic vocals from Casey. The orchestral elements are a constant for this, and they really add to a lush, violety sound. Look Away is one of the best songs the collection has to offer, with its quirky melodies, heavenly harmonies, and one of Casey’s best vocal performances yet.
White is a beautiful ending to the album. With some of the simplest tunes on the album, it serves as a fantastic, mostly uplifting close to the collection. Each song embodies a floating, peaceful atmosphere, with the trademark angelic harmonies and crescendos common among Dear Hunter ballads. Home is one of the simplest songs on the album, but it might prove to be the strongest. White is a perfect closing.
Overall, this project will serve as a landmark accomplishment for The Dear Hunter, and its ambition only paid off in the form of a unique collection of EPs that all present a different mood. I’d definitely give my personal blessing to this record for someone considering trying it, for what it’s worth. The standout tracks are Filth and Squalor, We’ve Got a Score to Settle, Misplaced Devotion, The Inheritance, Progress, Look Away, and Home, though there are many more that deserve a mention. There are a few weak tracks, particularly in the Blue EP, but overall The Dear Hunter have given us a collection of music that is thoroughly satisfying in quantity and quality.