The Dear Hunter, "Act III: Life And Death"

Album Review
3.5
<p>The Boston-based <a href="/artist/the-dear-hunter/775790">Dear Hunter</a> shares any number of parallels with the similarly named groups <a href="/artist/deerhunter/686930">Deerhunter</a> and <a href="/artist/deerhoof/246657">Deerhoof</a>, most notably an animal namesake and a penchant for dramatic, dissonant, style-shifting rock. But the Dear Hunter's war-themed third release (and part three of its rock opera) takes the musical skin-shedding to a whole new level and finds the band exploring baroque orchestral arrangements, Broadway-esque piano ballads and everything in between. One minute Dear Hunter leader Casey Crescenzo is drenched in a backdrop of lush harmonies ("Writing on a Wall"), the next he's roaring through a wall of bombastic guitars and horns ("In Cauda Venenum"). The genre-leaping proves a bit tiring, but Crescenzo pulls most of it off without sounding pretentious. In fact, some of the tracks (most notably the Southern-fried, banjo-soaked "Go Get Your Gun") are even fun.</p>