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The Dear Hunter - The Color Spectrum: Complete Collection CD (album) cover


The Dear Hunter

Crossover Prog

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The Truth
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars Casey Crescenzo and his project The Dear Hunter are one of the greatest bands my generation will ever see, he creates music that is so thoughtful and beautiful yet remains very mainstream and accessible. And yet he isn't afraid to let a little self-indulgence show like releasing nine EPs at once.

This collection is essential listening for almost every fan of prog rock (the standard edition just doesn't give you the full listening experience). Each EP has it's own atmosphere, flavor, texture, etc. and yet it's all connected in some weird way. While not all tracks are completely flawless (many on the first half of the collection are almost too mainstream for me) there literally is not a bad one. The guy just rights good songs, he has never, and I mean never, released a song that isn't well composed and well performed. That's just not how he does things.

This release really shows the solidity of The Dear Hunter and their ability to produce extremely grandoise and majestic releases while never getting to far "out there". Real highlights are the Green, Indigo and White EPs but you really can't go wrong with any of them.

An excellent release and intermission in The Dear Hunter 6-album project. Can't wait for more from these guys, Act IV or not.

Report this review (#473116)
Posted Thursday, June 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the most difficult issues I have when writing a review is where to start. That's why I don't write too many reviews. And with this album, or collection of EPs to be more accurate, I am having more difficulty than ever; not because there's nothing to say - far from it. This collection of songs are so diverse from EP to EP that there is too much to say. It is an awesome achievement by Casey Crescenzo and the band to pull off such consistent, high-quality output across all 36 tracks. There is not one dud track here. Of course we all have preferences and there will be some tracks that when time is short and one can't play the entire 2.5 hours worth of music, some tracks will be chosen over others. But for now, I have had the pleasure and benefit of playing all tracks as a collection on over half-a-dozen occasions and it is really the best way to take it all in and enjoy the ride! The concept of representing each colour in the spectrum via an EP of 4 tracks is pretty much par for the course for The Dear Hunter as they take a break from the ongoing release of the 7 Acts series. They're only up to Act III so expect Act IV to be the next release from this fabulous band. This is a band who think big in concept and value and nothing is done in small measures. And one really wants to take care in presenting a review that does their fantastic work justice. Throughout the various styles on display here and the diverse characteristics represented by each colour, melodies and hooks are never far away and each EP delivers them in abundance.

Taking each EP in turn, briefly:

1. Black: Heavy progressive rock, complex (think Porcupine Tree, The Mars Volta, Muse)

2. Red: Heavy, lively, hard-rock (think Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures)

3. Orange: Loud, lively, bluesy, guitar driven (think Led Zeppelin, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kula Shaker)

4. Yellow: Power pop, summery, uplifting (think Phil Spector, Jellyfish, R.E.M)

5. Green: Acoustic, reflective, country rock (think Jeff Buckley, Neil Young, Starsailor)

6. Blue: Soulful, blues, slow-rock (think Coldplay, Snow Patrol, Thirteen Senses)

7. Indigo: Warm, ambient, rhythmic (think Peter Gabriel, Depeche Mode, Boards of Canada)

8. Violet: Quirky, vaudeville, highly-melodic (think Panic At The Disco, OneRepublic, Maroon 5)

9. White: Contemporary rock, progressive related, anthemic (think Keane, Muse, Coldplay)

Of course, one of the most difficult aspects of this project to pull off, is the unique identification of specific colours through music and conveying the 'personality' of each to the extent that one should be able to listen to a track and understand and recall the colour concerned. In reality and on the first few listens (before familiarity takes a hold) one would probably have had a successful stab at some and maybe no more than a 50% success rate. That in itself does not present any kind of failure on behalf of this project though as one's interpretation of colour is personal. The music itself, if one ignores the concept, is so fabulous it deserves to be heard. One reason I have tried to compare each EP with commercially recognised and arguably more popular artists, is to give a flavour of what the new listener should expect in the hope that such comparison will encourage more buyers; because sure as hell, Casey Crescenzo and The Dear Hunter deserve the sales for such ambition, talent and brilliant execution.

This is my album of 2011 so far and dare I say it is unlikely to be surpassed. 5 stars with no hesitation.

Report this review (#502338)
Posted Saturday, August 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars A bit of a departure from the Six-Act concept album cycle, to be sure, but there's some stellar material here and any Dear Hunter fan is doing him or herself a grave disservice by ignoring this release, or not listening to it in its entirety. While Casey Crescenzo may have scaled back the prog sensibilities a little bit here in favor of a more streamlined sound, the variety in this 9 EP set is tremendous, and in my opinion any fan of the group needs to hear all 2.5 hours of it (preferably in sequence) to really grasp its scope. It's certainly not perfect, but definitely well worth having.

I usually do a track by track commentary in my reviews, but there's just too many songs here for me to do that effectively. Instead, I'll go "EP by EP" and hopefully that will work out.

"Black" starts off the cycle, and as you might expect, it's a pretty dark affair. Casey pulls out some extremely raw vocals (even by his standards) and overall the lyrics are pretty bleak. To be honest, without some of the progginess found in the Acts, the Black EP comes off sounding a little too much like standard alt-rock, which isn't a bad thing in and of itself, but it's just not my cup of tea. Because of this, the Black EP is probably my least favorite of the set.

"Red" follows much in the same vein, but it's catchier and a little less dark, and I think that helps it quite a bit. It still has the same problem (in my opinion) of sounding too generic for the Dear Hunter, but it's certainly not bad.

"Orange" is where I think things really start to get interesting. From the first chords of the first song, you know that the Dear Hunter is forging into new territory. It's not unreasonable to say that outside of the Color Spectrum the DH doesn't really have a lot of very happy songs, but everything on this EP just radiates a kind of cheery energy.

"Yellow" is even more cheery, and I think it's probably my favorite EP of the group. I had the privilege of seeing TDH live and they played a couple from this EP, and the songs on this EP breathe like nothing the Dear Hunter has ever released before.

"Green" and "Blue" are both very restrained, folky sets. I always like when songwriters deviate from the kind of music they usually make, because it proves to me that when someone is truly talented they can write anything and make it sound good. Both "Blue" and "Green" are very relaxing and easy to listen to, which perhaps isn't something that could have been said about a lot of the Dear Hunter's earlier work.

The EP set closes with "Indigo," "Violet," and "White," and they all contain probably the closest material to the Dear Hunter's previous work. However, without the proggy arrangements, I think they fall a bit short of the high bar the band has set with its previous work. There are some great songs, to be sure, but in my opinion the magic just isn't there.

Overall, this is a great collection of songs, but in my opinion it just feels too much like a side- trip to be held up to the same standard set by the band's first three albums. "The Color Spectrum" is absolutely worth having for fans of the band, and could perhaps even serve as an intro to for prog-wary listeners. However, as I don't really think any of these EPs show a hint of progressive rock, I really don't think I can say this is necessary music to have. "Good, but non-essential" pretty much sums it up.


Report this review (#568996)
Posted Wednesday, November 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
3 stars I suppose I could just copied parts of what I was writing for the last few hours in Singles/EP sections, but you can easily find it there, so I won't make more of it. Needless to say that I was uncertain about what rating finally give. There are some four stars, most of them three stars and even one (indigo) with two stars rating. Well, but it's a hell of a concept, ambitious and proceeded more or less well. The length of it is inevitable, there's not much more to do about it, but still, it can get tiresome, just to listen so many minutes at once. The only that long album I had no problems with was Moon Safari's Blomljud, but that's an exception (even these Collosus compilations in VA section were too long to listen at once, as is this). 3 stars, but be vary that these are 3(+), almost four, but not quite. It's a terrific concept, but I have a candidate for 4 stars, you can see it with trimmed down version of this album.
Report this review (#607522)
Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is an amazing collection which is definitely worth your while to search for. What this is is a concept box set of 9 EPs of 4 songs each. Each EP is named after a color in the visible color spectrum. In the vinyl edition, each EP is pressed in the appropriate color of vinyl. For vinyl collectors, even that is enough to make one salivate uncontrollably. Once I heard about the release of this, I pre-ordered it for close to $100.00. It's definitely worth more that that now. But, it's not enough for The Deer Hunter to put together an attractive box set. They have to go and write 36 excellent songs to go on these EPs. This box set is chock full of top notch, high quality music, mostly sung by the lead singer and songwriter Casey Crescenzo. This guy has an amazing voice with an unbelievable range and incredible dynamics. This guy has drama in his voice that you would not believe, drama that even matches that of Freddy Mercury's, but so very well controlled. He doesn't show off that voice unless it's called for in the song, so it's not over the top, but it's there. Oh boy, is it there.

The concept here is not that the songs are tied together by a story. It is more of an idea in each group of four songs on the EPs are related to the colors by timbre, genre, feeling. In other words, the Black EP is heavy and dark, while the Yellow EP is bright and sunny, with Green being somewhat folkish in nature. Being an Indie-folk fan myself, I love this EP, and consider it my favorite, but all of them are excellent. One other reviewer here went so far as to name several bands that were similar to the music on each EP so you can get an idea of how each one sounds. I think he got it pretty close. The amazing thing here is that one band is making all of these wonderful excellent sounds. The songs themselves are individual songs not tied together by anything except color which represents the style. These are all accessible songs, but they are all high quality, beautiful and excellent.

This would have to go down as being one of the most ambitious and original concepts I can think of. And the great thing is that it's all done so very well. I listen to these songs and can't find any weaknesses among the styles of rock music that are presented. That is the thing that makes this progressive is the idea and the quality of the music. These are straightforward songs averaging about 4 minutes each. There is nothing epic except for the concept and the release of the concept. Not much in the way of meter changes or ingenuity in the music itself, but you can listen to all +2 hours of this and not get tired of the music. I consider this progressive because of the concept itself and the quality of the music. Awesomeness and ingenuity, you get it all here.

If you can't bring yourself to purchasing the entire collection, there is an album which is an 11 track single album which pulls together selections from each EP, but there is sooooooo much you miss by not having the entire collection. The Deer Hunter has other albums that are more accessible as far as price goes and that have more prog elements than this, so only for that reason can I not give this 5 stars, simply because it's not what I would call essential, but if you haven't heard them, I would suggest getting one of the traditionally sized albums. I will warn you though, it will make you want to save up your money for this excellent addition. In my own personal collection and rating system, this has 5 stars, but for Prog Archive rating purposes simply because of it's inaccessibility tied to price and the availability of other Deer Hunter albums, I will give it 4 stars. Excellent stuff people!

Report this review (#1315262)
Posted Tuesday, November 25, 2014 | Review Permalink

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