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The Dear Hunter
Act I: The Lake South, The River North
Triple Crown Records

The Dear Hunter is the ambitious project by former keyboardist/ sequencer/ singer of The Receiving End Of Sirens, Casey Crescenzo. The album has elements of gospel, soul, hardcore, jazz, and orchestral rock, taking signatures from opposite corners of the music spectrum and finding a melodic middle ground for them. The Dear Hunter is a bit of a family affair with members of Crescenzo's family brought on board including the vocals of Judy Crescenzo, the drumming of Nick Crescenzo, and the organ sessions of Phil Crescenzo. Also, contributing vocal parts is As Tall As Lions' lead singer Dan Nigro, whose band toured extensively with TREOS last year.

The Dear Hunter's debut album Act I: The Lake South, The River North is the story of a boy from his creation until his untimely death, bringing to music his journey with themes relating to lust, deceit, greed, and hunting. With only 8 tracks on the album, there is a sense that this is a young life cut short, not fully reaching the maturation of old age. Beginning with "Battesimo Del Fuoco," the track resounds with Casey's a cappella-rich vocals undertoned by a haven of gospel hued choruses heralding the birth of the boy - The Dear Hunter, born to a mother who is a harlot and a life plagued with struggles from the start.

The album proceeds with orchestral rock concentrates casting a cinematic glow. The jazz-coned trumpet intervals on "The Lake South" segues into hardcore textures for "City Escape." The vocal harmonies and carousel-prow piano melody is haunting and sets the stage as the plot thickens with "Inquiry Of Ms. Terri" when Casey sings, "The cavalier she hopes of him is dissonance with experience/ The boy who grows with knife in hand to fend for her becomes a man while she plays fake affection and carefully lacks objection to her gentlemen callers twisted desire."

The dark shadows created by the orchestral rock movements have theatrical properties and spears into the core of the story. The listener becomes engulfed in the swirling shadows of these tracks. "1978" features As Tall As Lions, Dan Nigro on additional vocals and combined with Casey's, the tune has a levitating stance. The shadowy trumpet flumes return on "The Pimp And The Priest" extending the plot from the boy trying to survive, to a young man whose desperation makes him susceptible to the two forms of people that welcome unwanted souls - the primp and the priest. The boy strives for the river, believing that the water will redeem him and give him peace.

The folk/rock blazes on "His Hands Matched His Tongue" have a Matt Costa solemnity, but with more emotive vocal peaks. The finale "The River North" is a trailing piano etude that feels sparse and unfinished. The album concludes with the applause of an audience and the warm-up session from a chamber music recital. The listener can't help but think there is more to The Dear Hunter's story.

Casey Crescenzo sees songs with a cinematic appeal and he achieved that goal with The Dear Hunter's debut album. While he was in TREOS, he told AmoreMag.com about the making of TREOS album Between The Heart And The Synapse: "From day one we had a very good idea as to the blueprint of the album. We had a sort of script of 'scenes' that needed to be accomplished. It was very much like filming a movie and in the middle, it could feel disjointed and chaotic, but when you took a step back you began to understand the whole."

Act I has appeal musically and thematically and is Casey Crescenzo's most ambitious project to date. Joining Casey on tour will be Erick Serna on guitar, Luke H. Dent on keyboards, and Sammy Dent on drums as they embark on a nationwide club tour.

-Susan Frances

Track listing:
1. Battesimo Del Fuoco
2. The Lake South
3. City Escape
4. The Inquiry Of Ms. Terri
5. 1978
6. The Pimp And The Priest
7. His Hands Matched His Tongue
8. The River North

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