The Dear Hunter


Written by: TL on 01/06/2013 12:48:46

The Dear Hunter is another one of those bands that I've been seeing around often enough that, when I saw they had a new album out this year called "Migrant", I decided it was time to find out what the fuzz is about. Turns out, the fuzz is partly about the band being the new working project of Casey Crescenzo, the singer/guitarist/keyboardist that some will know and revere from his time with The Receiving End Of Sirens. Of course, the four albums already in the project's history could probably also have something to do with this, having brougth them here, where they further develop a progressive indie-rock that borders on the orchestral, with all the different sounds and instruments it brings to bear.

Up to this point, The Dear Hunter has been a project solely based around concept albums and "Migrant" is in fact the band's first forage outside of these constraints. That does not mean, however, that it isn't pretty grand, and compositions and arrangements are so rich and varied that you'll be very hard pressed to find accurate references, although the music is at times reminiscent of something you could've heard on records by K Sera, Mew or Muse. There's plenty for the ears to feast upon then, but of course also healthy measures of good old guitar and drums, and of Crescenzo's vocals, which veer between the sharp, the delicate and the powerful, as he croons through the vividly changing soundscapes.

The record starts dramatically and promisingly with the mesmerizing build-up of "Bring You Down", which glides seamlessly into the following "Whisper", stringing together two songs that both climax well and both offer refrains you quickly start to recognise on return listens. The smooth and sexy beat and violins of "Shame" are a surprising yet cool change of pace then, but as we move past the relatively catchy "An Escape" and the country-ish "Shouting In The Rain" (which reminds me of Mew's "Comforting Sounds" towards the end), things unfortunately start to get a little uneven.

The following "The Kiss Of Life" for instance, does as most of the album, lay down some promising foundation with first some eerie guitar and later some pulsating bass work, but as it moves up to its chorus, I notice an increasing feeling of Crescenzo's squeaking out the highest notes getting a bit.. used? Or maybe it's the choruses keeping the promises made by intros and beginning less and less consistently? In honest I have a hard time deciding, but the symptoms are unmistakeable; Attention simply starts to slide more and more as we move down the track list.

Make no mistake though, there are still plenty of curious things to hear for those who want a listening experience outside of the ordinary, and in that sense, "Migrant" still casts The Dear Hunter as a band with a certain unassailable level of class and character. The full realisation of this impression however, falls short as the album seemingly sets its sight on a very grand goal right from the word go, and then repeatedly looses its way when it's otherwise on its way there. Effectively it's meant for me that I can make the intellectual connection, recognising "Migrant" and quality stuff, but I can't really find the emotional coupling, that would normally command me to return again and again to an album I find truly great.

Download: Bring You Down, Whisper, Shame, Shouting At The Rain
For The Fans Of: K Sera, As Tall As Lions, Forgive Durden, Mew, Muse

Release Date 02.04.2013
Equal Vision Records

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