The Dear Hunter



by Thompson D. Gerhart STAFF
April 1st, 2013 | 226 replies

Release Date: 2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Breathe in and let go.

Migrant is an album where Casey Crescenzo is out to prove that he’s human. There are a lot of reasons for him to think that this is something he has to do, but most of it has to do with the fact that he has created a story that’s carried on for the duration of three critically acclaimed progressive rock albums. If that’s not enough to make him superhuman, you can also toss in the daunting nine EP collection released only two years ago that managed to succeed across nine only vaguely related genres. Sure, it’s not hard to see how a Casey Crescenzo listening to the music press feels a need to tell the world that he’s still only a man by foregoing the pretense of a concept album and the character of “The Dear Hunter” in order to bring us closer to the problems he faces in life and love just like the rest of us.

Okay, I can buy that, but I think the one thing that may have slipped Casey’s mind is just how much of him is in the character that he’s created. The lamentations, tribulations, and celebrations that we hear on Migrant are really no different than those we’d hear on any one of The Dear Hunter’s “Act” releases. This is because Casey created an authentic character and an authentic experience when he wrote his story and his songs, which is what makes them as emotionally intriguing and involved as they are. And they’re probably as genuine as they are because they’re based on emotional experience. So don’t worry so much about letting the rest of us know you bleed like the rest of us, Casey. Or at least don’t worry about doing it in such certain terms. We may bop along with your music like rats in Hamelin, but we’re smarter than the average bear.

Beyond the simple pretense of “no pretense” and emotional soul-bearing, Migrant really isn’t too derivative from the rest of the catalog Casey and crew have provided us with. It’s a softer album at its core, but the more relaxed approach featured on Migrant has been draped through previous offerings in lighter loads. While the approach to airiness has never been quite this dense, the best precursor to Migrant could be the group’s White EP, which focused on piano, atmospherics, and vocals above all else. There are a few more bells and whistles here and the album has a few tracks that rock harder than the rest (“Whisper,” “An Escape,” “Girl”), but on the whole, the album represents a soft, emotional breeze that Casey’s allowing to blow into the theater between acts in his grand performance.

What can make Migrant appear to be a slightly weaker release from the powerhouse lies almost exclusively in the nuance of significance and patience. While tracks like “An Escape” and “The Kiss of Life” quickly dig their way into your heart and mind with powerful choruses you’re likely to sing along with, the bluesy “Shouting at the Rain” and the softly flowing “This Vicious Place” take their time in gaining the same sort of name recognition. The former tracks tend to have an immediate impact (as much of The Dear Hunter’s back catalog does) while the latter recall the term “deep tracks” and ask for a little prolonged listening in exchange for the promise of aural dividends.

But, deep or shallow, all tracks on Migrant have the hallmark over-the-top instrumentation and sweet serenades we’ve come to expect from The Dear Hunter. While the pianos and vocals certainly have the foreground on most of the album’s tracks, the orchestral flutters and swells that augment tracks like “Sweet Naiveté” flesh out the album’s otherwise stripped-down sound and illuminate those primary components like searchlights passing through clouds. In the wake, the most audible guitars act primarily as the sounding of horns heralding the arrival of the next big chorus on the softer tracks (“Let Go”).

Meanwhile, the Crescenzo family croon extends to Casey’s sister, Azia, whose vocal performance on “Girl” is both ethereal and reminiscent of Chondra Echert’s work with The Prize Fighter Inferno in scope and tone. His mother provides backing vocals on “Shame,” which is the Violet to Migrant’s The Color Spectrum, resulting in a vocal performance which leaves no one surprised with the way Casey’s voice turned out – mostly because it sounds like he could have recorded her parts in his own smooth Tenor. But the real family success story on Migrant (outside of Casey) is the drumming of brother Nick. While the battery has certainly taken on a laid back quality that fits the rest of the music on the album, Nick Crescenzo manages to play his subtle role in a way that never feels subdued or restrained and which adds a certain vitality to an album which might otherwise lack motivation.

But it’s not Migrant that needs motivation in the end. Though it may not have the grandiose showmanship of an “Act,” it’s an album that’s full of the same inspired songwriting we’ve always gotten out of Casey Crescenzo executed to a perfectionistic degree by The Dear Hunter. No, the real test with Migrant is whether or not the listener is willing to take the time to lay back and let the breeze of the album pass over for them as it is, or if they’re going to try to take it at a clip and pass judgment on it as something it isn’t. So breathe in and let go.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
April 1st 2013


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Oh, good, this isn't as long as it looked in Word. Hopefully this articulates things fairly well. I've

been listening to this a lot.

Initially had it pegged at a 3.5 for the review with 4 as my personal rating because I can't resist

The Dear Hunter. Then, when I thought that I had negative things to say about the "sleeper" tracks on

here, I found that I knew them all by heart and couldn't skip them. It's still not Act II, but

give it time to grow on you.

Stream is still here:


April 1st 2013


I thought Aziz had this dibbed for a while?

April 1st 2013


Album Rating: 3.0

Sweet Naiveté is the worst shit ever what the hell? the album is alright, but this is NOT the same band that made The Colour Spectrum. your play, Deerhunter (their new album will kick asssssss)

also, gotta get this flagged cause the current default review sux dix

also also: When given the option of clicking two links under your review, one saying "Yes" and the other saying "No," I decided that, indeed, the review WAS well-written, and therefore, I moved my cursor over the "Yes" link and applied some light pressure on my mouse with my index finger, at which point, I was directed to a page informing me that my vote had, indeed, been counted.

April 1st 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

What's the best album by these guys? I only heard Color Spectrum complete.

April 1st 2013


Album Rating: 3.0

definitely not this one!!!

April 1st 2013


band ain't all that

April 1st 2013


Lol Aidrian couldn't resist. This really that good, i need to check something different

April 1st 2013


I think it's a little silly to compare this to the Color Spectrum, as understandable as that may be. I mean, yeah it's not as scattershot, and I surely didn't expect it to be. This album's more a representation of the band's overall sound, and moves away from the experimental edge the band's been striving for since its inception.

It seems to grow on one with time, so I'm hoping I'll dig this more with future spins. Stellar work as always, Thompson.

"Migrant is an album where Casey Crescenzo is out to prove that he’s human."

This reads a little clunkily, especially for an opening sentence. Maybe take out 'an album'? It should at least help. I love the idea here, though.

"Sure, it’s not hard to see how a Casey Crescenzo listening to the music press feels a need to tell the world that he’s still only a man by foregoing the pretense of a concept album and the character of “The Dear Hunter” in order to bring us closer to the problems he faces in life and love just like the rest of us."

In which the comma king foregoes his commas! Haha, I think this sentence would flow better with a couple.

April 1st 2013


Album Rating: 3.0

Ah. This band is so overhyped here. The record is a quite boring take on radio rock.

Digging: Swain - The Long Dark Blue

April 1st 2013


Album Rating: 2.5

yeah the dear hunter is overhyped. but then who can blame people after the color spectrum was so brilliant. but come on, the dear hunter has some weak moments in terms of songwriting. and have people forgotten how bland act iii was? on first listen this is good, but i only really find myself coming back to shame and girl. and that shouting at the rain song is so cheesy it kind of makes me cringe.

April 1st 2013


Sweet, I'm gonna check this out; I love this band

April 1st 2013


I thought this album was pretty incredible.

April 1st 2013


Album Rating: 4.5

Oh no, this is dropping in rating >:O

April 1st 2013


so should i actually check this out? i thought both songs released were boring as hell so IDK!!

Staff Reviewer
April 1st 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

Great review. So far, Migrant is less exciting than The Color Spectrum for me.

Digging: The Dear Hunter - Act V: Hymns With The Devil In Confessional

April 1st 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

"What's the best album by these guys? I only heard Color Spectrum complete."

Act II for sure. But act III also has some incredible songs on it.

April 1st 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, I'm impressed.

I know you likened this to the white ep, but considering that was among my least favorites from the color spectrum, how much would you say it has in common with yellow and red?

Digging: Sufjan Stevens - Songs For Christmas

April 1st 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

Eh I'll obviously still get this but I'm less excited if that's truly the case

April 1st 2013


The song Whisper is so damn good, I love it.

April 1st 2013


Album Rating: 4.0

I was going to write a review on this in the next day or so but now I don't need to. You made pretty much the exact point I was going to make, in that this album requires more attention than their other stuff. Damn good review. Deserved the feature it got.

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