The Dear Hunter – Act III: Life and Death

The Dear Hunter story so far….a Boy is born to a woman who moves away from the city life to the lake and the river, is brought up and forms a close bond with her. The mother dies and the boy goes back to the city to discover his mother’s previous life, in doing so falls in love with a prostitute who breaks his heart causing him to flee and join the army…and so begins Act III of the six part tale of The Dear Hunter. Mr Crescenzo the man behind the musings claims that the story is a romanticized version of his own life, so it is deeply personal which translates to the music he writes and the lyrics he pens and while some (very few) label his ambitions as pretentious, his humble persona (i’ve met him in person) would suggest otherwise.

Act III is astonishing to say the least, set amidst World War One the main character (known only as the Boy) fights not only the battles of war but battles within himself as he comes ot terms with Ms. Leading. The concept is drenched in drama and set in a world like no other, as is the music. Fans of genre bending will love this but it does not verge on the pretentious metre one bit, as the music adequetly reflects the era of which the story is set. Cresecenzo writes chronologically well with the delicate and refined 20’s feel of sweeping strings permeating a good portion of tunes on this record – not overbearing but enough to set the scene of the moment – and god is it done well. Saved beckons with sweeping string arrangements and wonderous vocal harmonies while Mustard Gas turns the epic meter to 11 with a full blown orchestration, gang vocals, and guitar driven frenzy.

While Casey and Co set the scene perfectly well they also accomodate for the darker things of war, the four part series of tracks early in the album represent the evils of battle – The Tank signifies destruction in an aural assault of ominous strings, powerful vocal delivery and frenetic drumming; The Poison Woman offers a ragtime affair of bluesy jostling while closing with probably one of the most memorable moments of the record (there are many btw) involving a sax singalong climax; The Thief conveys greed with its rolling almost Radiohead-esque bassline sprawl as it bends it’s way into the aforementioned Mustard Gas.

Not unfamiliar with balladry the band shwocases it’s softer side throughout this aggresive album in Saved incorporating sweeping string arrangements, pulsing rhythmic drums and layered harmonious vocals, and in What It Means To Be Alone we are treated to a pop masterpiece chopping and changing all throughout. The Dear Hunter command attention in He Said He Had A Story rollicking around behind a marching band of horns that just ooze sexiness in the breakdown.

I’d go on and on about every solid song on this record but i’d be writing forever, i will highlight the albums final three tracks which incorporate everything from dramatic ballroom romanticism to ultimate guiatr heroics from the one and only Erick Serna, and i’ll leave the review at that, as you really have to let the album do the talking for itself…

Buy the album via links in their myspace – here

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