THE DEAR HUNTER: Ultraviolet
The Dear Hunter return with The Color Spectrum, a color-coded mood album that fans can feast on.
Words: Jason Weintraub
In 1666, English scientist Sir Isaac Newton discovered that when pure white light passes through a prism, it separates into various visible colors. It was also discovered years later that colors can alter feelings, moods and activity in your brain. But this latter theory does not just apply to the color wheel, certain instruments, musical styles and tempos affect us the same way. So when The Dear Hunter, a group most noted for their forward-thinking themed albums, decided to use the colors of Roy G. Biv as the premise for their latest effort as frontman Casey Crescenzo suggested, the result was pure genius.
Aptly titled The Color Spectrum, each track on the album represents one of nine colors (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet, White, and Black), while offering different styles of sound and emotion. TDH fans who have come to appreciate the ongoing storyline from the band’s Act I-VI albums will find that it’s gone missing onem>The Color Spectrum. And while this album sticks to a theme as the others did, TCS stands alone; somewhat of a departure because the album clearly has one focus: seducing listeners into emoting.
The album can be split into three levels of emotion ranging in color from dark to light. It begins on the dark side—black, red and orange— with “Filth and Squalor,” the darkest and heaviest song on the album, both lyrically and instrumentally. Using distorted synthesizers, aggressive guitars and heavy percussion to carry the track, the song eerily sounds apocalyptic. Highly stimulating, the track does a great job at representing its assigned color black in a viciously noisy, but organized way. “A Curse of Cynicism” takes a hard-hitting driven approach for red, while the last dark track, “But There’s Wolves?” an orange song, gives us the first taste of chords that feel slightly more optimistic.
The second set of songs, which play the middle ground (not too dark or light), represent the colors yellow, green and blue. Although for the majority of the album Casey does an outstanding job of matching lyrics to the emotional sound of the tracks, in this section the wordplay is not as powerful. Lyrics like: “Why are we here, why do we die? Perhaps we’re never meant to know why…” show that Casey’s songwriting skills are better suited for dynamic storylines with real plots. Yellow is upbeat and alternative sounding, while green and blue are more folk-like inform, mellowing out the vibe from earlier tracks via a light guitar and a dramatically slowed down beat.
The last section of the album is the lightest. Using the colors indigo, violet and
white to illustrate its own sound, the section plays with slow, melodic, orchestral ballads that evolve into lively, airy and enthusiastic compositions. Even the word play changes and the new focus is on positivity. Think Electric Light Orchestra meets Coldplay, as piano melodies, and violin strings send you to a happier place. Combining of all of the elements, “Home” is the stand out track, which also features impressive harmony.
While it’s not easy to weave separate EPs into one collective album, The Dear Hunter have shown they are definitely capable. Though the lyrics are not what we’ve come to expect from TDH, Casey and crew do an amazing job separating the colors musically and making sure the transition from dark to light is smooth. True fans and music enthusiasts will love The Complete Collection, which guarantees nine full EPs and over two hours of their emotive musical journey, while the standard release of The Color Spectrum offers only one to two songs per color.