The Dears – Times Infinity Volume One
Back in 2003 when their second album No Cities Left garnered enough in the way of sales and positive reviews to get them known outside of their native Montreal, it seemed like The Dears were a band to watch. Yes, they had a bit of a Smiths thing going on – listen to Lost in the Plot and you’ll see what we mean – but that wasn’t all they had going on. They could be complicated and dissonant and they seemed to be ploughing a nicely intense furrow.
Fast forward 13 years and the complicated dissonance is still there – it’s just these days it makes them sound like another husband and wife band from Montreal; Arcade Fire circa Reflektor. Listen to album opener We Lost Everything and frontman Murray Lightburn is channelling his best Win Butler. On You Can’t Get Born Again, Lightburn's wife, Natalia Yanchak, gives her best Régine Chassagne. Which isn’t to say that they’ve dispensed with The Smiths thing either: To Hold and Have is the kind of song Morrissey should cover immediately.
All of which may go some way to showing how confusing it can be to listen to The Dears. Yes, they wear their influences on their sleeves, yet they are not really more than the sum of their parts. If you like Arcade Fire or The Smiths, you’d probably like new material by either of those bands more than you’d like this album. But if you’re the kind of person who prefer bands to sound like their favourite bands – and if either Arcade Fire or The Smiths rock your proverbial world – then Times Infinity Volume One could be for you.
For the rest of us, what Times Infinity Volume One demonstrates more than anything else is the law of diminishing returns.
Listen to: To Hold and Have, Someday All of This Will Be Yours