The Dear Hunter — „Antimai“ (July 1st, 2022)
Location: Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
Album release: July 1st, 2022
Record Label: Cave & Canary
01. Ring 8 — Poverty 4:35
02. Ring 7 — Industry 4:30
03. Ring 6 — LoTown 6:09
04. Ring 5 — Middle Class 8:42
05. Ring 4 — Patrol 6:03
06. Ring 3 — Luxury 9:41
07. Ring 2 — Nature 4:23
08. Ring 1 — Tower 6:45
→ Casey Crescenzo / lead vocals, guitar, organ
→ Nick Crescenzo / drums & percussion, backing vocals
→ Maxwell Tousseau / guitar, keyboards, percussion, backing vocals
→ Robert Parr / guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
→ Nick Sollecito / bass
⦿ In the prog world, concept albums are commonplace and in many cases expected to be something a band adds to their repertoire at some point in their career. But in the world of the The Dear Hunter, it is what they do best, and they do it in the most ambitious ways possible. Following the 10 years that saw the release of 5 albums known as The Act Series, it wasn’t entirely clear what mastermind Casey Crescenzo and the band would take on next. There was an EP and a brief side project but that was all setting the stage for the band’s latest full studio album project Antimai.
⦿ Antimai builds on the apocalyptic future world of The Indigo Child, a Sci~Fi story/short film, with an accompanying EP, that band leader Crescenzo had been working on the last few years.
⦿ Each of the 8 tracks on the new album deal with the different societies that occupy the civilization in the story, from the rich to the impoverished. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, what is the album like?
⦿ In some ways, Antimai is both the most progressive, yet the least proggy album they’ve made. The concept and the song structures are intricate and brilliant, and take multiple listens to make out and recall. That said, the music is perhaps less diverse stylistically than previous records and surprisingly finds the band exploring a lot of Funk and R&B with an abundant use of horns throughout. That’s not to say it strays much from the overall sound and vibe the band have been known for, but it does take a bit of getting used to. This can be heard in the album’s first single “Ring 7 — Industry”, an upbeat track that borders on disco. Similarly, tracks “Ring 4 — Patrol” and the album closer “Ring 1 — Tower” present a similar palette of instruments and style.
⦿ The opening track “Ring 8 — Poverty” lays the groundwork for the album brilliantly and finds the band revisiting some of the territory of the Act albums with a great hook and build towards the end. Along with “Ring 6 — LoTown”, the pair are the most representative of the bands traditional sound with the latter being one of the standout tracks on the album. However, just as it is comforting to hear the band sound like you have known them, they are just as effective at trying something new and adventurous, and that is where the album’s best track “Ring 3 — Luxury” comes in. It is essentially a song with two distinct parts, the first being an aggressive sounding musical type number that isn’t unlike something Lin Manuel Miranda might write. The second half is pure Dear Hunter and something only this band could write with lush melodies and beautiful harmonies.
⦿ It continues to be one of rock music’s most criminal injustices that The Dear Hunter aren’t one of the biggest bands in the world. Antimai is a brilliant piece of work and one of the best albums of 2022. It does take some investment of time to listen to and learn before fully being able to absorb all of it. There is so much going on, it is hard to imagine someone wrote all of this, but coming from the mind that wrote 5 connecting albums over a ten year span it hardly should be surprising. If this is the beginning of the next chapter for the band, it is off to an outstanding start.