Review Summary: To escape.. to escape
Brainchild of Casey Crescenzo, The Dear Hunter, has never been known as a musical project that creates the same thing twice. After three immensely well received Acts albums, and a gargantuan EP project released in 2011 entitled The Color Spectrum it seemed that there was nothing that Crescenzo and his musical brain couldn't do. Less than two years after the release of the Spectrum, The Dear Hunter is back with a new album that is centered around its frontman’s personal life.
This lush, yet dense offering opens with “Bring You Down” a track which flows outwards from a morphing string maelstrom and grabs the listener right from the beginning. The album’s lead single, “Whisper” immediately kicks in afterwards and by the time its chorus arrives it’s quite impossible to be anything but enamored by Crescenzo’s knack for churning out songs that are musically interesting, yet catchy beyond comprehension.
Two more songs that were debuted prior to the albums drop, “Shame” and “An Escape” continue to pelt the listener with bluesy and intense vibes that leave the audience begging for more. “Kiss of Life” becomes the album’s first ballad, which after about a minute of emotive crooning explodes into a warm, passionate chorus. As the song continues, it becomes more and more rhythmically complex, keeping the audience held up by the lapels.
One of the clear standout tracks on this record is certainly the moody, wonky “Girl”. Completely new territory for Crescenzo, it is clear that there will be no wavering as he continues on his seemingly unstoppable musical journey. The female vocals on this track (performed by none other than Casey’s sister Azia Crescenzo) give the song an interesting twist that hasn't yet been heard on a Dear Hunter track. The back-and-forth between the siblings is one of the album’s shining moments, and the final minute of this track will leave virtually anyone listening besides themselves.
“Cycles” seems to be the next step in the musical progression that has been created with the Blue EP, as it is awash with reverb guitars, and features a musical finale that hearkens back to “What You Said”. The album continues into another ballad, “Sweet Naiveté”. This track is predominately a piano/string piece who’s vocals feel like a slow, gentle waltz, in a vein not all unlike some of the less angsty tunes off Act III.
The band finishes the album strong with a 1-2-3 punch that is started with what is bound to become a live staple, “Let Go”. Launching into one of the most singable choruses the band has, this track not only has some of Crescenzo’s most dazzling vocal performances, but has perhaps one of the most memorable melodies the band has ever crafted.
If anyone was upset or worried that not diving right back into the Acts after The Color Spectrum might be a bad idea, they need not worry. Casey Crescenzo has once again proven that he is capable of quickly turning out a handful of beautifully crafted pieces which will without a doubt stand alongside with the best of whatever 2013 has to offer.
Standout tracks: “Whisper”, “Shame”, “Girl”, “Let Go”