From the early days in Loved Ones, Dave Hause has blended heartfelt lyrics with deftly played rock songs. While his initial solo offering was largely scaled back, the songs have grown over time, much in the same manner as his contemporary Frank Turner.
Following closely on the heels of his criminally overlooked September Haze EP, Hause returns with a new collection of rock ‘n’ roll infused Americana. Those who were shaken by the missteps of his experimentation on his last full-length will be happy to find him return to the formula that worked so well on Devour.
The rebellious attitude reflected on the cover of Kick suits the content well. There is a deft balance of emotional exhaustion and defiant optimism woven throughout the album. The theme is most obviously reflected on the album standout, “Bearing Down,” where Hause explores thoughts of depression and suicide with poignant nods to Robin Williams and Hunter S. Thompson. Despite the darkness in the lyrics, the song ends on a positive note where he recognizes that a loved one is his reason for staying alive. This juxtaposition has long been a common thread in Hause’s work.
With a delicate balance of upbeat Heartland rockers and sombre ballads, Kick is among the finest releases of Hause’s musical career. The filler that dragged his last full length down is thankfully absent this time around, resulting in a fine collection of solid songs. It serves as a complement to Devour, a continuation of the story that explores what it means to be an adult in these tumultuous times.