Review Summary: Why is it so damn hard to find anyone who can get behind such a simple plot?
If any colour in The Dear Hunter’s 9 EP The Color Spectrum
collection is the least subjective in its hue-terpretation, I’m going to go out on a limb to say it’s Red
. I mean, we’re all pretty sure red is a dangerous colour. Stop signs, insects you shouldn’t eat, penalty cards and raw, contaminated meat all agree: being red gets you attention and it’s usually for a good reason. Apparently studies even show that red carries the “strongest reaction of all colours” (and that scientists are running out of interesting things to make ‘studies’ out of). But think about the implications of the colour: bloodshed, anger, and lust themselves are all cogs in red’s symbolic regime. There aren’t a lot of things outside of ripe apples and roses that don’t match the colour’s panicked persona - the Red
EP included. And I know I contradict my stance on the Black
EP when I say that the colours even matter (and I retain that they don’t) but hear me out: Red
is probably the closest thing in the Color Spectrum
collection to equivocally represent a colour aurally.
Now, this isn’t The Alchemy Index
and things aren’t thematically (and stupidly) titled nor are they as blatantly crafted to be conceptual (as good as Kensrue and crew pulled that off) - they didn’t say, ”this song is red, let’s write it about great sunsets, intense anger and name it ‘Fire! Fire! This fire is RED! (feat. Anger + Ladybugs’”)
. They did however, do a pretty good job of straddling the red stereotypes and natural songwriting. I mean, there’s a lot of shouting, a lot of Andy Hull, a lot of distortion and a reference to having blood on your hands once or twice but it doesn’t deal with cliche “red”-ness nor does it whore itself out to ‘sounding’ like a colour. It has energy by the buttload though. It starts with a bang on ‘I Couldn’t It Do It Alone’ and barely simmers down to a peaceful end during the stifled, closing chords of ‘We’ve Got a Score to Settle Down’. It roars through Foo Fighter-esque laments of cynicism in the high-octane ‘A Curse of Cynicism’, ripe with palm-muted interludes and wailing, impassioned vocals. It runs a rhythmic marathon on ‘Deny It All’ only to trickle into a half-tempo, moody bridge just long enough to catch a breath between the anthemic, infectious chorus and the driving drums. The entire ordeal burns at a quick-neck pace that communicates an impeccable energy.
I will, however, inform that Red
, for something that I just said ‘burns’ awfully quickly, manages to be a slow-burner in its immediacy. All the power-chords, grunge-antics and hollering can be a bit to take in and a song like ‘A Curse of Cynicism’ can completely eclipse itself with its erratic song structure and relentless dynamic. This is why Red
struck me as my least favourite EP in the Color Spectrum
collection initially and why I consider it one of the most consistent, entertaining EPs on the selection now. It delights in its highlights; in the things you don’t notice on your first listen: Casey’s yelling of “keep your eye on the prize!
”, the simple but essential basslines in ‘Deny It All’s chorus and the sheer aggression of Casey’s vocal performance on ‘We’ve Got a Score to Settle’. Don’t be quick to judge, Red
‘s dumb, angry facade can’t be simply judged on surface level. Sure, it is the closest to sounding like the colour it represents but it is no exception to The Dear Hunter’s typically sincere compositions. These quadruplets are the love children of great, natural songwriting - they just coincidentally sound pretty red.