Influential Albums: The Dear Hunter – The Lake South, The River North – From The Mind of McFarland music blog.
I already wrote about Casey Crescenzo’s previous band, The Receiving End Of Sirens, on one of my previous “Top 20 Albums” posts, and how the band went downhill after Crescenzo’s departure to focus on The Dear Hunter. While losing Casey may have spelled the end for TREOS, for him it was not the end of him creating fantastic, and for me, influential albums. In fact, Casey’s first full-length release with The Dear Hunter is an amazing, sweeping piece of work; a concept album from a concept band that manages to be high-minded, creative, and completely listenable.
From the opening track Battesimo del Fuoco (“Baptism of Fire”), it’s immediately obvious that you’re not going to be listening to your average “here’s a whole bunch of songs we wrote, in an order that sounded nice together” kind of album. It gives the impression of an overture, the prelude to a story, which indeed it is.
The Lake South, The River North is is the first “act” in the the story of the group’s titular character (The Dear Hunter) – his birth to a prostitute, his formative years, and his eventual departure from his hometown. The whole thing sounds on paper like it should reek of pretension, but the listening experience negates that impression; it’s a joy to listen to, even disregarding the storyline that ties it all together, and the unusual arrangements and subject matter still yield songs that can stand alone on their own merit.
The Dear Hunter’s use of unexpected rhythmical patterns, swung beats and unusual instrumentations have certainly had an influence on how I write songs, and the conceptual themes that run through this, and the rest of The Dear Hunter’s albums have reminded me that’s it’s possible to have put out records with strong concepts that don’t feel overworked and overblown. And I hadn’t realized it until now, but I think a little of “The Pimp & The Priest”s rhythm may have crept into the title track of my latest record, “A Failed Breakup“.
Unleaded rhythmic alt-pop fuels singer/songwriter and two-wheel troubadour Michael McFarland’s engine. Michael McFarland in the simplest summary? Writer, Rocker, Biker, Geek.
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