The Dear Hunter have returned to their 6-part story, which began with their debut album, with the latest release of “Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise”. A curious tale based at the dawn of the 20th century, “Act IV” adds to the already remarkable tale in as quizzical and baffling manner that The Dear Hunter can. Combining progressive rock with indie and pop is not un-heard of, but this band accomplish an almost unique style that seems refreshing; to those who are not familiar with this genre, it is a competent gateway too.
What is notable about The Dear Hunter, and something successful about “Act IV” is their ability to genre-shift very well. Never straying too far in any direction, but progressive and pop elements can already be heard in the first few songs such as ‘The Old Haunt’ and ‘Waves’; stick around for the latter half and you’ll see ‘King of Swords (Reversed)’ flip it totally on its head, providing an exceptionally catchy, and funky, song that would be a success on any mainstream pop rock band’s album. The rather exceptional ‘At the End of the Earth’ may be played early but it’s definitely one of the albums more captivating songs, however ‘A Night on the Town’ probably captures the albums message in its clearest form.
For un-blooded the album might be a bit too much to cope with. As previously stated there is something for everyone on this album but the sheer length of it, and the placement of the more ‘easily-accessible’ songs, may deter song. ‘King of Swords’ is a great song to convince a usual pop fan of what progressive music can do (although the song itself is only a pop song) but they’ll have to get through an hours worth of music before that. ‘The Squeaky Wheel’ provides equal joy and does have a higher placement int he running order, however. The Dear Hunter, won’t care for listeners who only want to listen to a few songs though. This album is made by people who love music for people who love music. Some of the songs may feel they drag but only ever so slightly, and it has enough short, good, songs in the midst of everything to keep you going; it isn’t a constant barrage of 15 minute melody-less self-indulgences.
Despite the brief criticism “Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise” is for the large part brilliant, and a testament to an incredible group of song writers. There are enough songs that an average listener will like, and for the hardcore the whole album is a body of work that does not contain too many duds. The rate that The Dear Hunter albums come out is astonishing given the intensity and cleverness of their albums, but if they can keep going at it, then many people will keep enjoying it.