Review Summary: nothing’s as it seems or what you’d thought it’d be
There’s only one song on Indigo
that The Dear Hunter have ever showed hints of writing. On Act III
, The Dear Hunter penned a song called ‘The Thief’ that was pretty unlike anything they’d tried before and that’s saying a lot for a band made famous for their genre-bending. Guided by a fairly non-linear set of melodies and some impressive instrumentation, the song was one of the best and catchiest songs on the disc - it also happened to feature an extended groovy Radiohead-esque jam session that, led by a cute little kinetic bassline, lead the listener to a pair of faux-climaxes that saw trumpets, snaking guitar lines and Casey Crescenzo’s fantastic vocals collide in one big, satisfying bang. It was a song in its own world both on Act III
and in the Dear Hunter’s repertoire. And to bring this all to relative relevance, I’ll let you know that it’s not until Indigo
that a song similar to ‘The Thief’ is brought to attention on The Color Spectrum
and it goes by the name of ‘Mandala’. Not only do the songs both have a similar groove and the same 5/4 timing, they both feature a non-linear composition that is simply an unpredictable tour-de-force of Crescenzo’s catchy vocal lines. There’s no definable choruses, verses or bridges - there are simply pure moments of genuine groove, brilliant vocal melodies, bouts of Mars Volta-esque ambience and moments like when Crescenzo sings “you saw what you wanted but the rest was terrible!
” that are just awesome for no immediate reason. The strangest thing about ‘Mandala’, however, is that it’s made so incredible by its uniqueness within the band’s usually enormous comfort zone - but it’s the only song on Indigo
that sounds remotely close to anything they’ve done before.
And it’s only really similar to one
song in the band’s extensive history.
That’s because Indigo
has songs like the appropriately named ‘Progress’, a song that thuds away in a subtle flurry of bassy synths and electronic atmosphere beneath Crescenzo’s bitcrushed vocal hook of ‘the only thing that brings me back is love’.
It has songs like ‘What Time Taught Us’, an electronic percussion-heavy and impressively eerie song that sees one simple refrain of ‘nothing lasts for good or like you thought it would
’ repeated for the better half of the entire song. Heck, Indigo
has songs like ‘Therma’, a completely electronic instrumental song. Given its rather unfamiliar milieu, it’s no longer absurd to think of ‘Mandala’ as the most familiar song on Indigo
. It’s a patch of earth on another planet, for heaven’s sakes. But that is part of what makes Indigo
so special - while it’s easy to get lost in the glitchy swells of ‘Therma’ and the mesmerising hooks of ‘What Time Taught Us’, Indigo
isn’t only captivating for its hypnotic overtones. Indigo
is a reprieve from its less subtle cousins on The Color Spectrum
; it truly is the most foreign slab of music to have been thrust into the band’s already eclectic catalogue. And while Black
experimented with equally unpredictable and bizarre electronic whirring and clicking, Indigo
pulls it off best - it’s not quite subtle in the slightest, but it’s enveloping and most certainly the most entrancing EP on the collection and, ultimately, in the band’s history.