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Review: The Dears

I’m not good at keeping up with the times. In rather typical fashion, I was introduced to an album two years late: “Gang of Losers” by The Dears. Front man Murray Lightburn’s clear-cut voice is packed with emotion—even his melancholy in “There Goes My Outfit”—in every darn song, which lures one in to, not only the music but also, the emotions underlying the song’s musical and lyrical composition. From the grand city of Montreal, this six-person band’s seventh album brings hints of the late 90’s aura to the 21st century in such a way that the album can be listened to in solitude or with a room full of chatty friends—there’s no atmosphere it doesn’t fit. Except a wedding or funeral, perhaps…but those aren’t any fun anyhow.

Lightburn’s vocals are melodically synthesized in “Gang of Losers”, making his singing as much an instrument as it is communicative. This sort of album, with Lightfoot leading the way the entire time, is an album for Cincinnati if I ever heard one. The second to last song on the album, “Whites Only Party”, is a song about being marginalized in a way that few can in the indie-scene…you’d have to be African American and dig the indie-rock scene to understand where Lightburn is coming from, and where he’s hoping to go. The song that follows “Whites Only Party”, Lightburn sings, “Being born is really such a chore, but some of us out here don’t know s***, and some of us don’t even want to know. Clearly this is our life…there goes my outfit. I was only trying to help.” I can’t help but have a regretful smirk on my face, as such a message is so friggin’ needed in this race-divided city.

The Dears’ multifaceted genre intermixing and thematic, ideological diversity captures what music was meant to be: people who love writing music and sharing their lives through that medium. I might be two years late, but thankfully iTunes keeps their inventory stocked for slackers like myself.
-Christopher Green.