Fearlessness comes in a lot of different forms in rock, and one of the most fearless traits you can have as an artist is actual ambition. You could push the limit on a style of music to make it unmatched for quality from peers, or creative something innovative as your own musical entity, and both takes a certain drive to push your creativity.
Casey Crescenzo is something who has worked towards the latter, particularly over the past decade with The Dear Hunter. Conceived as a concept band with a six-part story of the character known only as “The Dear Hunter”, the band have injected some theatricality and a wide spectrum of instrumentation into a more minimalist scene in alt-rock. And as we reach ‘Act V: Hymns with the Devil in Confession’, Crescenzo’s fearlessness delivers once more.
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Across the 73 minute span, ‘Act V’ takes enough twists and turns to make a decent rallycross track, often during the same songs. ‘The Revival’ is alight with the band’s typical flamboyance as slow-burning brass solos combine with rapid organ chiming to create swing melodies, while having time for a hushed introspective midsection. Meanwhile ‘The Haves Have Naught’ is reminiscent of the more melancholic songwriting of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
It’s the performance of Crescenzo that pins together every idea on this album with each desired emotional impact. The father-to-son exchange in ‘Light’ is some of the most fragile songwriting you’ll hear in rock this year, while ‘Gloria’ is alight with the sense of jubilance that The Dear Hunter always nail when they mean to.
With so much going on, ‘Act V: Hymns with the Devil in Confession’ is a welcome addition to The Dear Hunter’s ‘Act’’ series, but on it’s own could appeal to anyone that likes variation to their rock and roll. And with the scope of ideas brought to life on this album, it’s another link to one of the most fearless projects in rock today.
’Act V: Hymns with the Devil in Confessional by The Dear Hunter is released on September 9th on Equal Vision Records.
Words by Andy Davidson (@AndyrfDavidson)