Context – doing my best fireman impression
I want to start by saying I like The Dear Hunter–I dig their sound, I dig their aesthetic, I respect their ambition.
But listening to these albums back to back to back to back has been frustrating. As “experimental” and out there as this band’s initial impression is, all of these albums still seem very samey to me. There isn’t a lot of growth from album to album.
And maybe that’s intentional–maybe they’re simply staying in their lane while they tell this story to keep the vision tight and the atmosphere contained, but there’s nothing that grabs me from album to album outside of my affection for their pseudo-carnival scene tunes.
As of now I’ll probably listen to Act I and Act III on steady rotation and maybe give Migrant or their Colors EPs a glance and see if those differ–maybe the off-project albums show the variance I so crave from The Dear Hunter. Maybe Act V and the as of yet unreleased Act VI will be the shake up this band so desperately needs. Or maybe I need to give albums more space between listens so that I can be excited for what comes next again.
This has me reflecting on my love of Coheed and Cambria, which is historically one of my favorite bands. I’m saddened by my reaction to The Dear Hunter because if I reflect honestly on Coheed’s discography I’m not sure I’d feel all that different about it if I listened to it in this context–so much of my love of Coheed comes from the anticipation of a new album and my excitement to learn more about The Amory Wars, but if I look at their albums holistically there isn’t a ton of variance until after they leave their sci-fi opera.
I’m pretty sure if I came to Coheed fresh and reviewed their albums similarly I’d feel equally complainy about them despite loving their general sound and approach to music. This revelation is bumming me out a bit, but I’m still super jazzed about Neverender. Try and stop me.
Either way you should totally check out one of The Dear Hunter’s albums, because their sound rules–even if it they stick to it like sushi rice to sushi paper.
Also I’m totally waiting for sushi to arrive and it cannot come fast enough. Be jealous.