Dears – Degeneration Street

January 01, 1970

(Dangerbird Records)

Even as they mark fifteen years of making
music, the Dears still surprise. Over the years, each of their
individual albums has become something of an opus, where a combination of drama
and overarched intent result in sheer spectacle. Leader and co-founder Murray Lightburn continually sets the standard, his
exaggerated croon and knack for theatrics serving as the booster for the band’s
higher ambitions. Despite what has amounted to a series of revolving chairs
-numerous players have come and gone throughout their history – the formula’s
held for the better part of their trajectory without realizing any real
declining returns.


To the contrary, Degeneration Street,
the Montreal-based band’s latest disc, is as extravagant as always, boasting
the usual mix of swelling arrangements, subtle synths, over-the-top vocals and
percolating rhythms. Suffice it to say, subtlety isn’t exactly key
here; most of the tracks – “Omega Dog,” “5 Chords,” “Blood” and “Thrones,” to
name only the first four – soar heavenward with an effusive rush of pomp and
circumstance. It’s hardly hummable, but it’s impressive nevertheless. At very
least, the Dears are still distinctive.


“Omega Dog,” “Thrones” LEE ZIMMERMAN

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