Act III – Life and Death has been my most anticipated album of 2009 (yup…beating out IWRESTLEDABEARONCE). The music Casey Crescenzo is able to create is fantastic, and has yet to fail to write something amazing; although Act III has a very different feel to it (which I believe was intended). I finally get my hands on The Dear Hunter‘s new album, and get to reconnect with ‘The Boy’ and follow him on his adventures through Act III.
Album art is pretty good. Similar to Closure in Moscow‘s newest album. As always the tree is up there. I’m not 100% sure the reasoning behind the tree but I love how all of the album arts have been (and will be) focused on it. Running almost 57 minutes Act III is still 20 minutes shorter than Act II‘s epic 1 hour 17 minute run time. Although Act III ends up with more overall tracks with 18, whereas Act II has 15.
Casey continues to take full advantage of dozens of instruments, consistently giving a very “musical” sense to the album (musical as in…a musical play…you know). Creating epic crescendos using strings, piano and well executed gang vocals. The composition is fantastic creating an exciting yet brooding mood throughout the album. This album, unlike Act II, is more ‘serious’ so to speak. The last act dealt with the boy searching for information on his mother and eventually falling in love; whereas this Act seems to focus on the transition the boy experience from being innocent to sinful. The music expertly represents transformation, so even if you aren’t following the narrative you can sense that something is constantly changing for the worse. The melody is much darker than the previous records.
The narrative is as well crafted as can be. In “He Said He Had A Story” the boy sings about an experience he had with a prostitute. As she says “Please, be soft and sweet to me. This life has not been good you see” in which Casey sings “I broke her smile, reminding her I paid her well!”. “The Tank” sounds like a well-oiled war machine, chugging along. “The heavier parts are heavier and the softer parts are more serene.” Casey says about his latest masterpiece, and he is right on the mark.
Act III meets all of my expectations, and it is very noticeable that Casey and crew are continuing to grow and out-preform themselves with each new album. I am so excited that this is only Act III of a six act rock opera, which means there are at least 3 more Acts we can all be excited about. Check it out, pre-order the new album, and try to catch them on tour this summer.