I have to be honest: The Dear Hunter are not typically a band I’d write about, simply because I leave prog-rock to other writers to cover. But after a number of years of plugging away at the scene, their recent release Migrant is starting to give them a level of national attention they have long deserved—and I can definitely understand why.
The truth is, The Dear Hunter have never been a band to stay within the lines. From their Act I-III trilogy to their Color Spectrum series of songs, they’ve been musical explorers in both sound and concept, and in the process have built a core following of like-minded fans. But with Migrant, they’ve taken all that creative energy and reined it in, focusing it into a group of songs that is accessible to a much wider audience without compromising who they are. While this could easily be seen as a sell-out by almost any other band, in my view it’s the best direction The Dear Hunter could have taken. Seriously. These songs are filled with enough ear worms to satisfy the casual listener, but still contain enough of a diversity of sound to please the more musically adventurous, floating effortlessly between lush strings and modern rock, from detuned folk piano to walls of sound. It seems like this band is able to draw musical colors from a wide palatte to express whatever needs expressing at the moment, and frontman Casey Crescenzo’s vocals are warm and convincing over the top of all of it. Simply artful.
It’s impossible to pin The Dear Hunter’s sound down with a single song, so while I’ve shared their single “Whisper” below, please know it doesn’t do full justice to who they are. You’re better off streaming Migrant on Spotify, or better yet, just put down the money and buy the record. You’ll be glad you did.
This fall, The Dear Hunter are planning a tour with a string quartet. I’m sure hoping they swing by my neck of the woods.