Release Date: Oct 21, 2008
Record label: Dangerbird
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Experimental
Having lost three-quarters of their band during the making of this album, Dears mainstays and husband-and-wife team Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak are singing the blues. They've stripped back their epic indie in favour of ethereal rock, and the result is as complex and beautiful as you'd expect from Montreal's grand miserablists. Awash with choral harmonies, classic riffs, brass and strings, the melodies are sweeping and indulgent, the tight rhythms stretched to snapping point.
On the Dears' fourth album, the Montreal melancholics take simple melodies and spin them into seamless epics. When these epics stay succinct and focused, the result is superb (Money Babies, Berlin Heart, Crisis 1 & 2). When they don't, we get Saviour and Lights Off, which escalate into overwrought eight-to-11-minute opuses that include spoken word bits, guitar-solo wankery and children's choirs.
2006's Gang of Losers found Montreal-based indie rock darlings the Dears stripping back some of the orchestral flourishes that peppered their acclaimed 2004 release No Cities Left, a move that did little to reduce the band's penchant for effective drama. Four years later, founding members Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak decided to go it alone on Missiles, their first for the Dangerbird label. Recorded in a short period of time with numerous session players, Missiles is as rough and disjointed as it is arranged and majestic, balancing the apocalyptic artistry of No Cities Left with the emotional directness of Gang of Losers.
Around the time Snow Patrol walked out of Brit-pop finishing school and straight onto your sister’s iPod -- say, 2006 -- the Dears decided enough was enough with the Brit-pop game they’d been playing (especially because Snow Patrol essentially jacked their entire sound). It was time to get serious, man. And serious they got, releasing their tepid third album, Gang of Losers, an album that traded most (but not all) of their Smiths-by-way-of-Suede swagger with a more epic sound, taking square aim at the bleachers.