Recently I’ve found it difficult to find any new music that grabs my interest. That all changed when Amazon sent me an email recommending an album by a band called ‘The Dear Hunter’ in response to me buying Steven Wilson’s latest effort. Unlike most recommended-for-yous (looking at you Spotify) I’ve found that Amazon’s tend to work, so I immediately gave them a listen.
(Ultimately Amazon got what they wanted as I ordered one of their albums five minutes later.)
The album I ordered was called ‘The Color Spectrum’, which was a collection of nine four-track EPs released as a triple album (they can also be bought separately). The nine EPs are named: black, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet and finally white and each have a unique style and sound which is related to the colour they represent.
The Black EP focusses on an industrial metal sound, where harsh notes and bleak electronics are contrasted with beautiful choruses. The percussive elements of these songs are really highlighted with some of the best drumming I’ve heard in a long time. These four songs had the potential to be too abrasive and dark, but Casey Crescenzo (vocals, guitars, keys, programming) managed to form this darkness into something beautiful, yet still definitely industrial metal.
Red moves towards hard rock territory, with its opening song ‘I couldn’t do it alone’ sounding like a mixture between Queens of the Stone Age and Nirvana. The tracks are deliberately raw and not over produced, resulting in an EP that channels actual anger and emotion.
Orange softens the rock down another tone towards classic rock, with a dramatic emphasis on groove. The bass lines and meaty tones of the guitar riffs are tumultuous and are enhanced with lashings of old school organs. This is the EP where Marshall Amps are cranked to eleven and wah-wah is a rite of passage.
The musical journey relaxes into as Casey puts it “Californian coast in the mid-60s” with a “classically poppy vibe” in Yellow. To anyone who loved both Black and Red, this new direction may seem scary and off-putting. Don’t be afraid! This is up there as one of my favourite EPs of the collection. This EP also reminds me of one of my favourite bands, which I discovered last year, called ‘Hey Ocean!’, who are guitar and bass driven acoustic pop band. They too, are well worth the investigation!
Green and Blue are both acoustic led EPs and are both very poignant and thought provoking. They are the minor key brothers of Yellow and Orange and provide a good break in the two and a half hours of music. Indigo, like Black, is an electronic EP, with ambient soundscapes ranging from sparse notes to rich textures, electronic drum beats, Thom Yorke (Radiohead) inspired vocals and a layer of haunting keyboards. This is also the only EP to feature an instrumental track.
Violet is a grand, operatic rock EP, which brings Muse to mind. There are saxophones and trumpets and every song is pompous and theatrical. This EP represents the sound of the band present on earlier releases such as ‘Act II’ and ‘Act III’ and follows a short concept of a politician and his dealings. This is a very unique sound and ultimately words don’t do it justice.
The spectrum concludes on White, which is supposed to be the polar opposite of the Black EP, giving nothing but hope and clean, beautiful sounds. Each track is devoid of tension and harsh notes, instead choosing harmonious layers of guitars and synths. On a vocal stance, the lyrics are very uplifting and White ends the journey perfectly.
Whilst the idea for this project was ambitious and grandiose, The Dear Hunter are one of the few bands that have the musical vision and talent to pull this off, without it sounding forced or ruined by filler or overkill of ideas. Casey Crescenzo is the musical leader of this band and has an amazing voice, which can pull off anything from dirty rock to angelic. It’s a shame that someone with his talent is not more widely praised. There is undoubtedly something here for everyone and in most cases I suspect you will end up loving it all.