Early last week, The Dear Hunter released the first studio version of a track from the eight-EP series entitled The Color Spectrum. The song “Deny it All” comes from the Red EP and features production from Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull, who is also a guest performer on the track. The track may be different in sound from other songs in The Dear Hunter’s discography, but it functions as a good first look at the ambitious project.
“Deny it All” begins with heavily distorted, grunge-styled chord strumming before mastermind Casey Crescenzo’s instantly recognizable voice kicks in. The guitar and drums give the song a more modern alternative-rock feel, contrasting the multi-layered, experimental sound that the band has utilized on past releases. The Red EP has been said to be one of the more aggressive sounding EPs in the collection, so perhaps Crescenzo’s more melodic writing will find its place on the other Color discs.
Lyrics touch on abandoning everything that society deems necessary, with Crescenzo passionately shouting away. “Nursing stale history, and the apathy it brings. Too fascinated by the most material things. While we wait carefully and see,” show the nature of the song, which contains an almost angry feel to it, with Crescenzo criticizing most things in society.
Hull’s presence is easy to feel in the song, with the instrumentals not sounding too different from those of his band. Also, there are many similarities in Crescenzo and Hull’s voices and when they sing over each other in the chorus, it’s hard to make any distinguishable difference. It’s hard to say exactly who takes what role instrumentally, with rumors floating that some of the instrumentals may have been played by Manchester Orchestra. All I know is that the lead riff in the chorus is extremely catchy and helps make the song.
The definite highlight of the song is the bridge, which repeats near the end, where Hull takes lead vocals. While some might find it disheartening that the guest star steals the glory of the track, it is merely a testament to the great songwriting of the pair and Hull’s magnificent delivery. This isn’t to say Crescenzo isn’t on top form, rather that Hull gives a phenomenal performance with his brief moment in the spotlight. When the song slows down and his voice kicks in slightly higher and softer than Crescenzo’s gruffer voice, singing “Never took you long to pray. Either way, I spend you like I know some better way. Force of habit. Now it takes a while to pray,” it’s impossible not to be moved.
While this song doesn’t stand up with the complexity of other The Dear Hunter releases, it isn’t meant to. The Color Spectrum isn’t Act IV, it’s a completely separate project and the sound will reflect that. “Deny it All” is a good, but not great, track and a good first look at the mammoth of a project.
The Color Spectrum‘s vinyl package can be pre-ordered from Triple Crown Records here.
Listen to “Deny it All” below: