“Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise” by the Dear Hunter is greater than anything they have put out in the past, if that is at all humanly possible.
For those who aren’t familiar with this band, the Dear Hunter hail from Providence, Rhode Island, and the band is comprised of a single front man, Casey Crescenzo. Act IV not only reminds fans why this is one of the greatest bands in our lifetime, but also exceeds expectations in both story and sound.
The three previous albums that correspond with the story are titled as Acts and numbered in the order they were released. This is Act IV of six expected Acts. Each portrays a conceptual story about a boy, referred to as “the Dear Hunter,” and his perilous journey of naivety and discovery.
In “Remembered,” the infamous reprise and theme throughout the collection of albums is heard: “The flame might be gone but the fire remains.” The softness of this song reflects the tragedy in the story as the boy battles loss, and reminisces about life with his mother.
The story picks back up again in “Night on the Town,” as the boy moves forward from the unfortunate events that plague his life. “Is Anybody Here?” can almost be seen as a breaking point, as the boy’s naivety is replaced by despair. The intro piano and violin are a simple yet brilliant combination with the lyrics until the song adopts more instruments and vocals.
Most of the album (as well as the previous three) are from the perspective of the boy, but in “Bitter Suite IV and V: The Congregation of the Sermon and the Silt,” the perspective changes to the Priest and the Pimp.
“Wait,” a classic alternative-rock song with string accompaniments, is thought provoking and grim. The boy asks, “Is my body really part of the earth? And is the soul just a metaphor?” Considering what he goes through, one can’t blame him for asking such profound questions.
“Ouroboros” brings the album to an ominous end, as the electric guitar in the background is sinister, and vicariously feels the boy’s lament as he says, “I never wanted to hurt no one. I never wanted to be your city’s son.”
While the album’s story is inspiring, Crescenzo’s vocals are astounding, and prove that he can adapt his voice to just about any genre.
The album opens with the a cappella “Rebirth,” then smooth transition into “The Old Haunt” creates a theatrical essence that brings the story alive. That song, along with “Waves,” are alternative based with a classic ensemble of pleasing tones from electric guitars and upbeat drums.
A suggestion when listening to this album is in one sitting, from beginning to end. The Dear Hunter is a story worth listening to. Like a great book, you can’t simply pick out one chapter to read at random; you must start at the beginning.