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Day 278: The Dear Hunter – Act 1: The Lake South, The River North

3 Dec

City Escape

Deciding where to begin with a band is a pretty big challenge.  As you can imagine, first impressions are extremely important with me, and I really do try to give each band the best chance possible.  That being said, I can’t just pick the record that received the best reviews, because those who write about music have no idea of what they’re talking about.  I try to listen to fan favorites, but even that can prove to be problematic.  Hardcore fans may embrace a more complex record, one that requires a few listens (a “grower”), so it’s often just a shot in the dark on my part.

That is, unless a band gives me a clear starting point.  Including “Act 1” in your first record, “Act 2” in your second, and “Act 3” in your third is a pretty good example of such.  Experience tells me that it’s also a hint that the record is going to be over the top and dramatic, two things that I love in my music.

The Dear Hunter’s approach is as theatrical as their album names would lead you to believe—Act 1 definitely sounds like the soundtrack to a dark play of some sort.  I didn’t really pick up on a plot during this initial listen, but with song names like “The Inquiry Of Ms. Terri” and “The Pimp and The Priest,” I wouldn’t be surprised if there is an intricate narrative that ties this record (and the following acts) together.

My inability to pick up on a plot took nothing away from my enjoyment of this record.  I’m a fan of over the top music in all forms, so I have a lot to love in Act 1.  With plenty of drawn out instrumentals that end just before you get sick of them, and dramatic, spooky group chants, this is some good and melodramatic drama.  I’m tempted to check out Act 2 tomorrow…