Missiles is not an accurate representation of what The Dears have to offer.
Keira Burgess 2008-11-14
Having recovered from the strains of an unrelenting touring schedule which pushed them to the brink, Montreal's favourite Gang Of Losers The Dears return with their fourth longplayer.
Years on the road and an excessive lifestyle had left frontman and figurehead Murray Lightburn questioning whether any viable future existed for The Dears, but following a prolonged break and a dramatic downsizing in personnel, they're back with Missiles.
Now down to a permanent line-up of just two (Lightburn and his wife Natalia Yanchak), and joined by a troupe of musicians loaned from other bands, the outfit admit - with a wry nod to the obvious cliche - that the preceding discord has spawned much of what we hear on the album.
Despite this, the collection starts promisingly with the warm electro of Disclaimer, a sweet, understated track typical of what Canadian and American lo-fi bands do so well. Single Money Babies overflows with ideas, from simplistic but structural bassline to the rise and fall of the instrumentation which eventually mixes in the form of a satisfying, building round.
Berlin Heart is a soft rock, country ditty that would be overlooked as fey if recorded - as it easily could have been - by The Feeling, and Lights Off has more than a passing resemblance to Radiohead's Paranoid Android. And at halfway in, the record begins to sound like a repetition of itself, usurping criticism of overt references to outside influences.
Crisis 1 & 2 only differentiates itself from the rest with a frankly annoying and unnecessary guitar riff that wouldn't be out of place on a drivetime anthems compilation. Missiles is an ode to 70s glam rock which somehow misses the mark, and by the time the organ and children's chorus of 11-minute epic Saviour kicks in it's hard to maintain any enthusiasm for the continuing, dreary strains.
Chronologically, it's as if Lightburn gradually lost the inclination to fight the feeling of pessimism that had dogged the band in recent years, caving in to the temptation to musically wallow. An indulgent end to an album which begins with promise, Missiles is not an accurate representation of what The Dears have to offer.