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The Dear Hunter - Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise CD (album) cover


The Dear Hunter

Crossover Prog

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5 stars After six long years The Dear Hunter has brought us part 4 of the intended 6 Acts which follow the conceptual story of a boy/man known as "the Dear Hunter". Casey Crescenzo, for the uninformed, is basically the "brains" behind the band. He composes most of all the music the band has put out. The rest of the current line-up consists of his brother Nick Crescenzo (drums), Robert Parr (guitars,keys, and vocals), Nick Sollecito (bass), Maxwell Tosseau ( guitars, keyboards,aux perc, vocals), and Andrew Brown (keys and vocals). For this album he also enlisted the talents of The Awesome Orchestra. I must be upfront and state that, as far as I am aware, Casey writes all the material and the others members either play what he composed note for note or expand and add to his ideas. This would include the orchestra as well. This is a matter that only Casey and his bandmates would know amongst themselves. That being said, let's tear into this album. Track 1. Rebirth- Keeping in line with the first 3 Acts the album opener is quite theatrical. Lush background vocals accompany Mr. Crescenzo's singing as light strings and acoustic guitar provide the back drop. The song eventually morphs into an orchestral segment which at times evokes the feeling of tension or being chased. This song lead straight into track 2

Track 2. The Old Haunt- Cue the drums! A snare lick kicks off this rocking number. Lot's of tasty drumming in this song. Tasty use of drum rims. Lush harmonies and great use of orchestra (common throughout album). The song builds and builds with the lyrics "Now we wake up. Wake up!" Another orchestral section at the end does a call back to a previous album leading into track 3

Track 3. Waves- This could easily be on the radio. More straight ahead, but still clever arrangements and tasty little things. The bridge is quite delight to my ears.

Track 4. At The End Of The Earth- This song start with percussive sounds and keys in background. Kind of sounds ominous to me. The piano kicks in adding to the layering of the song. Casey's vocals have only gotten stronger from year to year.

Track 5. Remembered- Clever interplay between piano and orchestra. A song like this is not trying to be a hit single. To me it is an interlude. My favorite part being when you think song is over and piano melody softly kicks in again.

Track 6. A Night On The Town- Clocking in at 9 minutes it's easily the longest track. However, with all the different sections, it doesn't drag or make listener lose interest. It has horns, piano, strings and a very catchy chorus.

Track 7. Is There Anybody Here?- So up to this point there hasn't been much for guitar solos. Dinner is served. The end of this great song treats the listener to a very tasty, and at some points technical, guitar solo outro. Mr. Crescenzo can shred on guitar, but only does so when he feels it serves the song. Got some Pink Floyd vibes from it.

Track 8. The Squeaky Wheel- Very catchy chorus and almost Beatle-esque in some parts. I liked it a lot.

Track 9. The Bitter Suite IV and V: The congregation and the sermon in the Silt- The bombastic side of the band shows up. Theatrical beginning. Over the top and not ashamed of it. This is the side of the band that some love and others call "pretentious". I think the latter description is an over used insult thrown at bands who try to go big. I enjoy this side of the band.

Track 10. The Bitter Suite VI: Abandon- Very ethereal song. Even a minor drum solo in it. Once again for the song. Not for sake of showing off.

Track 11. King of Swords (Reversed)- Two questions.1. A disco song?2. How did you make it work? Because it does! Radio friendly all the way. Might throw the snobby fans off, but as usual the band doesn't really seem to care. Put on your dancing shoes.

Track 12. If All Goes Well- Good track. Pure gold at around 2:15 section of song.

Track 13. The Line- Stripped down song, but still lush.Almost Dust in the Wind like in a way

Track 14. Wait- One of the heavier songs on album. Tasteful use of effects on vocals on certain parts

Track 15. Ouroboros- The closing track. A disturbing track. Lyrics says " I never wanted to hurt no one. No one but you" The song/slash album almost leaves the listener hanging, but I believe that was the intent. In summary I believe the album to be incredible. The arrangements, vocals, instrumentation are all top notch as is the production aspect. I believe Casey Crescenzo to be Brian Wilson like. His bandmates are incredible musicians in their own right. Check it out!

Report this review (#1460521)
Posted Monday, September 7, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars Beautiful. Act IV has everything they had its predecessors, but not only that. Crescenzo has had the courage and the intelligence to stop after three chapters. How many others would have done it in his place? He explored its color palette and worked on his skills as an arranger with a real orchestra. He also found the time to produce an album of songs, Migrant. Just songs. Demonstrating how it's possible producing intelligent and profound music without necessarily wanting to be complicated. And now, after six years, the result is this wonderful and passionate work. Casey is currently one of the best creators of melodies on the scene, perhaps the best, and he is so young. Waves, Remembered, A night in town, Is There Anybody Here are my favorite moments of the chapter but there's not a single fragment of music in the entire opera that is not able to capture your attention and your emotions. Beautiful, again.
Report this review (#1460738)
Posted Tuesday, September 8, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars I am completely blown away. I have been on a relentless prog and rock search for something new that absorbs me into the music like Rush, Ayreon, Porcupine Tree, and other such classics have done. Wilson's new album was great, and there's been a few others. But the resemblance to Porcupine Tree/Blackfield, still left me hungry. I found Jolly, they were fun, Leprous was brooding but kinda new. But I couldn't find a soulful music that really sang for me. Enter The Dear Hunter.

When I came across Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise, I was expecting heavy synthesizer and quirky carnival like music--thanks to the album cover. But Rebirth, the musical sounding intro, grabbed me, I was moved by Waves, and by the end of this lengthy album I bought it. There was not a song on this album that I did not think "that was great too!" One could argue maybe Remembered as the weakest song, but even that song contains compelling acoustics, just as a slight awkward rhythm for me.

Compared to other 2015 releases this quickly took the cake for my favorite. And that's saying something competing against "Hand. Cannot. Erase." It's soulful, layered, complex, unique and Dear Hunter's best works from what I've now listened. From emotional tracks like Waves to funky soul songs like Kind of Swords and brooding songs like Wait, Crescenzo, with rich and powerful vocals, delves through many layers of emotion and musical composition to a paint a complex scene on life, death, and I guess Rebirth and Reprise. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys art rock, but also likes to dip into a more progressive scene that still keeps an accessible mainstream feel. Every time I listen to this album I appreciate the sound more and more.

Crescenzo has done a great job with this project, and I'd say this album should belong on everyone's music library. Everyone should at least give the album a listen. This is indeed a masterpiece, not only within The Dear Hunter's discography, but also among the collective prog and rock history. It's an incredible gem not many know about. 5 Stars, a beauty.

Report this review (#1473004)
Posted Tuesday, October 6, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars I feel I've been waiting for this album for a long time, considering it's the next part of a series of albums left off back in 2009. For six long years I've been waiting for the next installment by The Dear Hunter, who are back at it with their wonderful album "Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise."

"Rebirth in Reprise" continues the concept left off in their previous album, but with a sound that has changed drastically. More than ever Casey Crescenzo and company utilize orchestral instruments, with the basic rock instruments taking a backseat. This doesn't mean the album is lacking in rock- influenced arrangements, as present in the songs "The Old Haunt," "Waves," and "A Night On The Town." But if I were to remember anything from this album, it's the plethora of flutes, trumpets, trombones, and violins that create a much more unique and interesting listening experience. With interludes, interludes, and more interludes, these instruments shine in between tracks, setting the scene for the next song. Reminiscent of albums like "Censored Colors" by Portugal. The Man and "Days of Future Passed" by The Moody Blues, Crescenzo is able to leave an amazing impression on the listener, using progressive and indie rock influences together with classical inspirations. Considering the timeframe of the concept around the story, one truly feels they are back in the 19th century.

If the orchestral instruments paint a scene of the past, then the inclusion of modern instruments like the keyboards and electric guitar add a new layer to the storytelling. "At The End of the Earth" is a great example of how these different ages mix together perfectly, using a classic piano sound and a cappella singing alongside sound manipulation and guitar effects. The single "A Night On The Town" also utilizes this technique, consistently shifting between the new and the old. When a harder chorus finishes, the song transitions to a classical bridge section, only to return to a harder passage. I love how this album incorporates all these instruments together, which regularly complement each other in ways I could never imagine.

Two of my favorite tracks happen to be two of the harder songs on the album: "Is There Anybody Here?" and "King of Swords (Reversed)." I believe "Is There Anybody Here?" captures Crescenzo's best vocal performance on the album, a passionate and steady mid-register voice. His voice reminds me of the thoughts running through someone's head when they are lost, a reflective performance that reminds me of a character on Broadway. I can feel the emotion the main character displays throughout this song. The guitar solo towards the end of the song is also very interesting, and is one of the only solos I can easily recall off this album. With all the classical influences in this album, "King of Swords (Reversed)" turns the album on its head. With a poppy twist, I really enjoyed how out of place this song was, instilling some life into a slower section of the album. Using those classical instruments in unintended situations, I couldn't help but dance around to this song. I hope they play this song live at their concerts, because it will definitely get their audience's attention.

For an album lasting nearly 75 minutes, I am thoroughly impressed with the talent, devotion, and creativity that went into "Rebirth in Reprise." Unfortunately, it also serves as a negative at the same time. Being much slower compared to previous albums, there were times when I checked what track I was on to see how far I was into the album. Despite how beautiful the arrangements were, I couldn't help but anticipate a harder track to shake things up, which occurs only a few times. I can't help but wonder how the band will tour for this album, considering the majority of the album is downbeat and slower. It's a great album to play at work, even though you might not be able to hear much of the album if the volume is down too low. Finally, the album closes off seemingly sudden, almost underwhelmingly. I understand that the closing of each acts are merely closings of scenes in the overall story, but I felt like I was left hanging when the album ended. I would've changed the ending slightly to let the listener know that the album is, in fact, over.

Overall, "Rebirth and Reprise" is a great album. Those not knowledgeable of The Dear Hunter or any of the "Act" albums will have the same feeling as those walking into a movie thirty minutes late, but should still marvel at the creativity and sophistication of this album. I seriously feel like I should be listening to this album in an art museum or at a gala.

Taken from

Report this review (#1478022)
Posted Tuesday, October 20, 2015 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars After a six year intermission, The Dear Hunter finally returned to the rock opera in six acts written by frontman Casey Crescenzo. This time, the release would get noticed as the album debuted at 38 on the Billboard Top 100. By this time, word of mouth got around and people were suddenly ready for the continuation. And, once again, DH delivers in a big way.

Act III was a little worrisome, even though it was an excellent album, songs were short and not as developed, but Act IV comes back in all the former glory. Act III had a lot of story line to cover, so a lot had to packed in there, yet even then they did a great job and that album should not be ignored.

In Act IV, all of the emotion and intensity has not been compromised. Casey's voice is still amazing and the music and production is amazing as always. Prog is still in the mix too, songs are not predictable and always rich in change, originality and quality. In this album, one thing is even better if that is possible, and that is the orchestration really shines through in this one, giving things even a more dramatic flair. Just when you think there can be no more improvement, it happens. The songs are also better developed again, even the shorter ones.

The story remains to be complex and interesting as the protagonist lives through more ups and downs. He continues with his stolen identity of his half brother, and even his step mother and fiancée know that it isn't him, or at least that something has changed, they decide to play along. Unfortunately, his step mother dies shortly after her acceptance. Many other things happen, but all of this story is available on line, so I don't want to repeat it all here.

I can't really add anything more that hasn't already been said in my other reviews of the other Acts. This album is excellent and this entire project is a masterpiece. Casey and all of the musicians, producers and technicians have done another amazing job here, and they have delivered another 5 star masterpiece.

Report this review (#1936782)
Posted Saturday, June 2, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars At this point I don't even understand what is happening in this story (I'll keep rolling with it though)

This album, to a certain extent, disappointed me. Don't take it as a negative point towards the album, I simply thought it was going to be blown away with every track considering it's their highest-rated album in almost every music rating site. This record is phenomenal, but it's not perfect, thankfully it's carried by some great heavyweights spread across the album.

Six years after Act III, The Dear Hunter finally released their long-awaited fourth act, it definitely shows a minuscule departure from their classic sound, and I say minuscule because this album is still very proggy, just not as much. There's also slightly less theatrical tracks in it, which overall gives it a more serious vibe. A lot more orchestration as well.

So, the tracks. The Haunt is very, very good. It isn't as fast paced as their other openers but it has a very majestic feel and the chorus is so good! Waves is a classic. As simple as that. It's completely pop but it's so beautiful and calming there's no way you can't love it. I usually repeat it once when doing full-listens of the album.

A Night On The Town is one of the very few theatrical songs, and it's one of the best from the album, its first half is very funky while it's second half is way more atmospheric and moody, which helps make an amazing transition to the next track. The Bitter Suite, Parts III & IV is also phenomenal, featuring some heavy jazz and blues influences, it's one of the most dynamic tracks of the album for sure. The Bitter Suite, Part V follows it up with stronger focus on ballad structure.

If All Goes Well is easily my favorite from the album. This song is just straight up beautiful! Some of the most soothing melodies in their discography are in this song. It has a very positive vibe and never fails to put a smile on my face. Wait works as a great opener for Ouroboros and they close the album very well, not to forget how good their transition is!

The rest of the tracks are very good and, as you can expect from a The Dear Hunter album, flow very well. I would give it a four star rating, first time I heard it I was disappointed but after more spins it definitely grew on me and it's for sure a great record.

Report this review (#2735412)
Posted Sunday, April 3, 2022 | Review Permalink

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