Review Summary: Through the lush soundscapes and soaring choirs of White, we are reminded persistently of both the name that the Dear Hunter has made for themselves and their incredible future.
2011 can easily be dubbed the most frustrating year yet for the more ambitious indie musicians trying to grab even a meager ounce of attention, and this can easily be attributed to Casey Crescenzo. The sheer bravado displayed through the release of the Color Spectrum effectively stole the attention from all other major releases from the more independent artists of the year. In terms of quality itself, the highly acclaimed release was startlingly consistent, in that every EP was simultaneously someone’s favorite, as well as their friend’s least favorite. There will be no consensus of which EP’s are the most universally enjoyable; the unquantifiable degree of diversity employed on the Color Spectrum, from the foreboding synths of Black to the glimmering acoustic strums of Yellow, underscores the crew’s successful run at being versatile, while still having a hell of a lot of fun in the process.
Perhaps the most polarizing EP is White, in that it is so inherently harmonious that its immediacy strikes a rather dissonant chord with those looking for something a little more subtle. Make no mistake – Casey and crew went all-out on the White EP - and regardless of personal EP allegiances, the amount of nerve and honesty displayed here is something to be respected. The Dear Hunter have always been able to hide behind the masquerades of their concepts, and so Casey out from behind his veil was something new. Their former lyrics’ more loquacious nature was revealed only through the voice of a middleman, a vocalist only informing us of stories about others, and so the most intriguing idea about the Color Spectrum, and specifically White, is that there are declarations made that are Crescenzo’s personal beliefs eye-for-eye. Through the absence of usual storylines many ideas emerge that immerse the songs with thoughtful topics, and the White EP’s ideas of religion and the afterlife ask for a musical backdrop that is more grandiose than anything else. “No God” is the most poignant example of Casey revealing his inner philosophies, and by staying true to himself regardless of the strict ideologies of religion he unshackles himself from the chains he’s kept himself at bay with for all these years, and foregoes the weaving of master storytelling for personal themes. With this newfound boldness comes a refreshingly focused group, showcasing songs that could have been pieced together by Sufjan Stevens himself.
As Casey and his companions dip their toes in the waters of grand experimentation to test what works best for them, there are less enjoyable moments that do bring down the overall quality of the experience overall, and “Fall and Flee” reflects this best, being a song that is more confident than it perhaps should be, a more cliché and less successful amalgamation of other songs on White. To not expect this from musicians with experience honing their virtuosity at such creativity would be naïve, though. The White EP is indicative of the overall reception of the Color Spectrum as a whole, bolstering moments of brilliance consistently, and having the gaps between filled by still quite enjoyable moments.
Through the lush soundscapes and soaring choirs of White, we are reminded persistently of both the name that the Dear Hunter has made for themselves and their incredible future, because after the bombastic finale of “Lost But Not All Gone”, the most endearing thought is of what they could possibly do next. With all this newfound knowledge of what works and what doesn’t, the Dear Hunter will find themselves with more at their disposal, and make yet another monument through even more virtuosic flair.