What do you get when you cross The Beach Boys, Queen and The Foo Fighters?

It might just be my ears, but I believe you get The Dear Hunter, in particular, the track “Smiling Swine.”

Despite the obviousness of the multi-layered vocal harmonies, I had never before thought there might be a musical connection between Brian Wilson and Freddie Mercury, but there you go.

This is one of numerous “post-emo” (that’s my term, I think, but you can use it) bands that have gotten my attention over the past few years, starting with The Mars Volta and especially Coheed and Cambria, but more recently Circa Survice, Chiodos and these guys (who may actually be one guy; I’m not entirely sure). At any rate, I had never really given emo much attention, mainly because it seemed like something I was about 15 years too old to appreciate, and to be honest I still haven’t really checked out any straight-up emo (whatever that might be; I wouldn’t even know where to look), but the stuff these guys are doing is unmistakably marked with the same grandiose ambitions that were the cornerstone of the early ’70s prog rock I’ve been into since high school.

The Dear Hunter’s music, in particular, is quite intriguing with its incredibly varied instrumentation and song structures. There’s nothing else quite like it, except maybe Brian Wilson’s SMiLE. It’s definitely worth checking out.