The Dear Hunter
Blue


4.0
excellent

Review

by Caleb McAlpine USER (109 Reviews)
August 31st, 2011 | 29 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I can’t tell just which option is worse, dying pure or aware?

In ‘The Collapse of Great Tide Cliffs’, Casey Crescenzo’s voice hits a series of worldless high notes that, for maybe the first time, are all at once powerful, moving and broken. It’s kind of strange. Being a storyteller and having dedicated his entire band to writing a six-album concept suite, the man has never really had room to emote in his music. Every once and a while, the story would technically call for some emotion - such as when the concept’s main character finds out his girl’s a prostitute in the classic ‘Red Hands’ - but while the music’s theatrics and execution is always top notch, it turns out Crescenzo really isn’t a very good actor. He can write the parts and set the scene but he’s always sounded a bit detached from his role in the story. So, what happens when Crescenzo writes about himself? It’s a question I have reserved for Colin Meloy too - what would it be like if a man who’s committed to storytelling started writing something pretty personal? Well, for Casey Crescenzo, you apparently just get a colour.

Blue has the wet, morose, down-tempo atmosphere that you’d expect from a hue that singlehandedly defined an entire genre of mournful music. And while The Dear Hunter already got the blues rock out of their system on Orange, Crescenzo hadn’t yet gotten a chance to croon, so to speak. That’s why we get a song like the delightfully sloppy ‘Trapdoor’, a song loosely hinged on a watery 6/8 progression and on Crescenzo’s intentionally lazy vocal melodies. The song has a fragile swagger - it never falls apart but it constantly threatens to. And while it reaches a satisfying close with one of Crescenzo’s famed high-notes and his proclamation of “the profits will outweigh your cause if the only thing you want is love”, the song and Crescenzo himself sound like a loosely knit sweater slowly unraveling - held together by tape and clothespins.

‘What You Said’ is similar in presentation: sung all in head-tones and sounding wetter than a pond, it plods along somberly in a sea of reverb, clean-guitar tones and understated drumming before climaxing into a messy explosion of post-rock, white noise and melody. It is perhaps the most linear song on Blue but its genre-crossing outro is entirely new territory for the band - the lack of obvious melody, the presence of speed-picked ambient guitar lines and lazy cymbal swells lack the perfectionism Crescenzo is renowned for and speaks volumes about the band’s dedication to making something that sounded different for them. Something that sounded blue. But it’s not long before the aforementioned ‘The Collapse of the Great Tide Cliffs’ revisits post-rock territory with its slightly more melodic but equally powerful climax: subtly igniting on the tail of two minutes worth of piano-led photography metaphors and Crescenzo’s undoubtedly most emotional vocals yet comes a flourish of picked arpeggios, distant but driven drumming and what ultimately is perhaps the band’s most uplifting piece of music yet. It’s focused and hopeful but is self-referential to the muted, melancholic four songs that precede it - a final last hurrah of damage repair after a brief exercise in emotion.

And ultimately, there’s a passage in ‘Tripping in Triplets’ that finds Crescenzo feeling that good ol’ I’m-just-not-good-enough vibe in a potent but simple metaphor of having two left feet. He sings, “Am I stuck at the ankle or caught at the knee, a curious puzzle still cursing me - to follow or lead?” and unlike anything off the band’s prior work, he might actually be asking the question. The EP might be a little less tidy than its other colour-counterparts and might not be the most gripping melodically, but it reveals a side of Crescenzo's personality we never knew he had: his personality itself. Blue, at the end of all roads, simply taps into what makes music a testimony, and not just a dramatic retelling.



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user ratings (200)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Waior
September 1st 2011


11454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

you thought i was doing this in order

you were wrong

pizzamachine
September 1st 2011


12571 Comments


Consequences will never the same! Good review.

Acanthus
September 1st 2011


9543 Comments


A Waior review! Bands not for me, but the reviews great!

Digging: The Knife - Deep Cuts

Carnifex
September 1st 2011


1918 Comments


These guys started following me on twitter a few days ago, worth checking out?

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
September 1st 2011


28640 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

These guys started following me on twitter a few days ago

Digging: Jessie Ware - Tough Love

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
September 1st 2011


28640 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

whoa.

Carnifex
September 1st 2011


1918 Comments


LOL I KNOW LIKE RIGHT, no but really I had never heard of them until that shhh.

Oceanus
September 1st 2011


877 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Can't get into Blue still.

Waior
September 1st 2011


11454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

sad, that!

although this ep confuses me the most, a song like 'what you said' can be unremarkable to me one moment and absolutely stunning the next

IAmKickass
September 1st 2011


840 Comments


All the EP's in the Spectrum confuse me, it's as if I love a song one listen and than feel differently about it through each listen. Yet always manage to enjoy it in a different way, if that makes sense.

Waior
September 1st 2011


11454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

definitely

zxlkho
September 1st 2011


3465 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is my least favorite EP, but it's still really awesome.

Waior
September 1st 2011


11454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

my least favourite is either black or green

Oceanus
September 1st 2011


877 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

His melodies here just seem to be really lacking. At first I thought that maybe it was because everything was just really understated and that more would be revealed with multiple listens but that only seems to happen instrumentally here, and that isn't enough to make up for the inferior vocal compositions.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
September 1st 2011


10280 Comments


Great review. I feel like this is definitely the most emotional EP, and is a reason it's one of my favorites

klap
Staff Reviewer
September 1st 2011


10495 Comments


what i thought you were going in order. also green rules

Digging: Caribou - Our Love

Irving
Staff Reviewer
September 1st 2011


7311 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Green rules. And so does this review.

We don't have you on here nearly as much as your talent deserves, Waior. Please write more often.

tiesthatbind
September 1st 2011


7375 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Probably my least favorite of the EP's but still pretty good.

DeathByDaydream
September 1st 2011


546 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

awesome review. don't know why the consensus seems to be that this is the worst color? i would definitely trade green for this if i had to. but of course i'd rather have it all.

Tyrael
September 1st 2011


20899 Comments


I still hate you for getting me hooked to this band dude

but yeah awesome review



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