Release Date: May 15, 2020
Record label: Dangerbird Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Post-Rock, Chamber Pop
The Dears have form when it comes to soundtracking the most traumatic events of our lives. Their breakthrough album, 2003’s No Cities Lost, was released into an uncertain post 9/11 world, dominated by war and threats of economic collapse and its doomy yet romantic sound seemed to capture the mood of the times. Seventeen years later, we have a global pandemic, an imminent worldwide recession, and a new Dears record.
One of the more compelling mysteries in indie rock is the relationship between Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak of the Dears. Lightburn is the group's founder, leader, songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist, while Yanchak is their keyboard player. They've been working together since 1998 and have been married since 2005. The longevity would suggest they have a reasonably happy and functional relationship, but even the most cursory examination of the Dears' music makes it clear Lightburn takes an extremely dim view of romance and the world around him.
There should always be something interesting happening with bands that are built around a couple. With great groups that feature a romantic relationship at the core, there's always juicy details and dramatic insight that never ends up tabloid-ish or unnatural. With The Dears, a band that describes themselves as noir rock, you'd expect something good to happen at least once on their latest album.