Album: Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise by The Dear Hunter
Released: September 4th, 2015
The Dear Hunter was formed in 2005 after Casey Crescenzo was kicked out of his previous band, The Receiving End of Sirens. What was originally a side project while he was in TREOS, The Dear Hunter became Casey’s full-time project and he recorded the first album, Act I: The Lake South, The River North, almost entirely on his own with help from friends and family. Telling the tragic life story of boy a growing up at the end of the 19th century, the band released the first three acts in 2006, 2007, and 2009 before taking a departure with their 2011 release, The Color Spectrum. This collection contained nine four-song EPs; each individual EP corresponded to a color for a total of 36 songs of various genres and moods. The band followed up with another stand-alone release, Migrant, in 2013 before returning to release the fourth and fifth acts in 2015 and 2016 respectively. The Dear Hunter has released seven full-length albums in the eleven years since their first album, continues to tour, and released a new EP earlier this month titled All is as All Should Be.
**Spoiler Alert – Story Details Ahead**
The Story and the Songs:
Continuing the pattern of opening songs beginning with a capella vocals, “Rebirth” slowly blends in more and more instrumentation until it begins to sound like the score of a film. The orchestration gives way to the pulse of “The Old Haunt”, a song that recaps the events of Act III as Hunter, after killing his father and taking on the identity of his deceased brother, returns to the City. “Waves” rolls in with its catchy chorus and “At the End of the Earth” builds from a quiet beginning, featuring triumphant vocals by Crescenzo, before giving way to the more somber piano-feature of “Remembered”.
Things kick into high gear as Hunter returns to the City under the guise of his brother, spending “A Night on the Town” while trying to maintain the façade. Coming in at nine minutes, “A Night on the Town” is a tour-de-force with separate sections that all leave their mark on the listener by including call backs to earlier songs from previous albums. “Is There Anybody Here?” is Hunter’s drink-addled attempt to keep character as he sees Miss Leading again for the first time; this song stands out for its Pink Floyd influences and emotional guitar solo. “The Squeaky Wheel” hearkens back to “Smiling Swine” from Act II, only this time Hunter is woken by his brother’s fiancée who whisks him off to mass. “The Bitter Suite IV and V: The Congregation and the Sermon in the Silt” describes the fiancée bringing Hunter to the Church and seeing The Pimp and the Priest at work. “The Bitter Suite VI: Abandon” details Hunter’s decision to fight back and seek public office in order to do so.
“King of Swords (Reversed)” comes jaunting in with its foot-tapping disco optimism (yes, I said disco) and couples with the equally upbeat “If All Goes Well” to document Hunter’s campaign for mayor as he slips into less than savory tactics to win. Though it sounds like a melancholy breakup song on the surface, “The Line” is about his decision to fully take on the life of his brother before wondering if the lengths he went to will come back to haunt him in the industrial-rock song “Wait”. “Ouroboros” finishes the album with the realization that The Pimp and the Priest knows all about Hunter’s past, and ends with him under The Pimp and the Priest’s thumb as an unwilling pawn in the villain’s schemes.
The subtitle of Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise refers to not only Hunter’s return to the City and Miss Leading, but alludes to the musical motifs that pop up from the first three albums. These melodies are present to evoke the emotions that Hunter feels at the time during the events of the song and use earlier songs as reference points. Act IV features more polished production and orchestration than any previous act; the orchestra used was commissioned by Kevin Pereira since the record label didn’t want to pay for them, and it is easy to see that the album would lose much of its luster without their contribution. This was a long-awaited release for fans who had asked about the album for years before suddenly having the announcement dropped on them in June of 2015; little did we know there was more to be excited about in the near future.
Please enjoy some song recommendations, a song from the album, and check out the band’s social media accounts below!
Song recommendations: “The Old Haunt” , “A Night on the Town” , “Is There Anybody Here?” , “King of Swords (Reversed), “Wait”
Previously: Act III: Life and Death