Review Summary: Dave Hause doesn't stutter when he sings...
Earlier this year whilst touring Australia supporting The Gaslight Anthem, I was lucky enough to have a chance to chat with Dave Hause. The Loved Ones front-man turned solo artist had just finished recording his follow-up album to 2011’s Resolutions, but remained tight lipped about what he was hiding up his sleeve. Hause did divulge that on the second time around recording he felt much more pressure and said “You have a lot more people paying attention, so you want to make it great.” Perhaps this line may sounds cliché to some, but from the tone in his voice you could almost suspect he truly had just completed something special. After months of waiting patiently, Hause finally released his new album ‘Devour’ at the beginning of October and from a countless amount of spins already, it has indeed lived up to his promise.
‘Devour’ begins with the slow rocker ‘Damascus’, which thrives on heartfelt croons, vivid lyrics and a light driving drum beat. The opening lyric welcomes the listener to the show and offers them to ‘dance and drink if you'd like or sit back and take notes’. A light guitar rhythm accompanied by hints of piano all aid in building up to a climax, where Hause’s voice overflows with emotion. The bridge of this song shows off his backing musician’s capability early and continues to go up a notch whilst Hause is still lamenting about “stockpiling bullets and vitamin c.” The very next track on ‘Devour’ is ‘The Great Depression’ is hands down the stand out from the album. With influences like Bruce Springsteen immediately noticeable, a strong warm guitar riff pushes this song forward with a sense of purpose. The lyrics and musicianship found in this song are somewhat sorrowful, yet seem to accurately depict an array of emotions Hause has felt toughest the toughest parts of his life.
‘Devour’ keeps moving along with a strong direction onto tracks like the catchy first single ‘We Could Be Kings’ and the following ‘Autism Vaccine Blues’. ‘Autism Vaccine Blues’ is a slightly upbeat number that offers a slower chorus and digs deeper into Hause’s psyche, featuring smart lyrics like ‘the car wont charge and the phones out of gas’. The middle section of the album explores some slower numbers, which helps in keeping things feeling fresh. Whether its comes in the form of ‘Same Disease’ an acoustic driven number or the minimalistic moving piece ‘Becoming Secular’, which is a showcase track for Hause’s vocals and downturned guitar strums. ‘Becoming Secular’ adds some very atmospheric and thought provoking tones to an album which already reaches in many directions. Solid rockers fill the gaps in-between these numbers, until the albums closer ‘Benediction’ rolls around. ‘Benediction’ picks up where the album began with similar lyrics asking if the listener enjoyed the show, giving the album a secular feeling or sense of closure. The humble closure wraps everything up in a nice little package drawing on big drumming moments, daunting guitar picks and earlier lyrics, reminiscent to The Wonder Years latest closing act. ‘Devour’ closes with one final crescendo and leaves the listeners with the optimistic lyrics “its love my friend, in the end that can save us tonight, so are you in?”
Criticisms of ‘Devour’ are hard to find and probably boil down to the fact if you don’t like artists similar to Hause, you won’t like him. This is an album rich with an outpouring of emotion from a man who was once devouring his way through life, seemingly had it all throughout his twenties, only to lose grasp of it. This second solo album is a step in the heartland rock direction and ditches most of ‘Resolutions’ acoustic singer-songwriter feel. ‘Devour’ is a natural evolution and crowning achievement for Hause, who had originally ‘never bargained for a crash.’