Canadian Indie Rockers: The Dears
Comparisons in the music business may initially be welcomed, although they eventually tend to weigh heavily. In the case of The Dears, and in particular founder member Murray Lightburn, constantly being compared with the likes of Morrissey, Damon Albarn and Radiohead was a burden the Canadian groups frontman moved swiftly and unequivocably to shed:
"I'm absolutely ******* bored to death of them."
Rarely does Lightburn mince his words.
Formed in 1995 in Montreal, constant is not a word you could associate with The Dears ever-changing line-up. Apart from Lightburn and his wife and keyboardist, Natalia Yanchak, the Canadian indie rockers have seen a plethora of members come and go. Perhaps it is this turnover of musicians, not including collaborations with various orchestras, session musicians and even a brass band or two, which has allowed The Dears sound to remain as complex, intense and moody today as it has ever been.
From their 2000 debut album, 'End Of A Hollywood Bedtime Story,' through to the 2011 release of their fifth and latest studio album 'Degeneration Street,' the combination of Murray Lightburn's barring-of-the-soul lyrics and intense melodic sound, has been and remains the driving force behind The Dears ballsy brand of music.
Perhaps though, it is the stellar reputation built as a risk taking and powerful live band that has fuelled The Dears longevity. Described as "the sonic equivalent of seeing the face of God," once on stage, The Dears can never be accused of being half-hearted, neither of going through the motions.
As for risk taking, not many bands would choose to play three Mexico City shows, debuting six songs from a yet unreleased album, whilst simultaneously being the subject of a CBC film documentary. Lightburn was typically honest, as citing various technical problems he told CBC "It was a **** show." Nevertheless, the film documentary (directed by Lightburn) 'Never Destroy Us: The Dears At Paseguero' became the catalyst for the band to release the 'Live At Paseguero' album in 2012.
The Dears may well have been on the cusp of a mainstream breakthrough for longer than they can or care to remember, but this iconic Canadian band has more than earned the pockets of cult status they enjoy across the globe. Long may they continue to fly just under the populist radar.
That is why you should get into The Dears!