The Dears: Degeneration Street
You know the music’s gonna be spit hot when a band proudly takes the ‘comeback album’ tag. With Degeneration Street , The Dears have delivered a album which not only marks a stunning comeback but is quickly building online consensus as the best album the Montreal sextet have ever done.
With original guitarists Patrick Krief and Rob Benvie back on the team and collaborative songwriting in effect, there’s fire and urgency afoot.It’s as if The Dears were tapping into their younger, more ferocious and chance-taking selves. It’s all there in the blazing opening trio of tunes, “Omega Dog”., “5 Chords” and “Blood”, lotsa jagged guitars, dense drumming and Murray Lightburn’s vocals, dripping with reverb and delight.
As he demonstrates on “Omega Dog" the old school soul falsetto is still intact as is the chance-taking thing.
“Thrones”, for instance, could have gone horribly wrong going with its New Wave-ish instrumentation and open-faced lyrics but by tune’s end it’s grown into something more rough’n’ready, matching the feel of the rest of the material.
The experimental Dears come out to play on ““Galactic Tides”, with menacing keyboards and looming rhythm section as Lightburn goes about reconfiguring The Dears' idea of a pop tune. That's acutely balanced by the following track “ Yesteryear”, as light and airy as it gets here, with Lightburn wailing at the very top of his vocal range.
Beyond this point, the pace is toned down somewhat, as this album is streamed very much like a live show. Not to worry though, Lightburn’s never been one to take the easy way into anything or traffic in the obvious lyric, so while “Easy Suffering” and “Tiny Man” would have probably been effective left to themselves, they burn way much brighter after they’ve gone through The Dears treatment.
Best news for hardcore fans; the tunes are working very well live, as evidenced when the band tore up the David Letterman show with a wicked rip on ‘Blood’, backed by Letterman's stellar horn section.
The album dropped Feb.15, days after another Montreal art rock band Arcade Fire took home the Best Album Grammy. Coupled with the Letterman gig, suddenly the American future looks very bright for The Dears.