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The Dears are the critically acclaimed “orchestral-pop-noir-romantique” rock’n’roll band from Montréal, founded by Murray A. Lightburn in 1995, and joined by Natalia Yanchak a few years later. The group’s attunement to songwriting is shaped equally by nineties rock and a broad tableau of gospel, soul, and pop music.
They released their first album, End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story, in 2000. Their orchestral, dark pop sound and dramatic live shows cemented The Dears at the foundation of the then-emerging Canadian indie renaissance. In 2001 and 2002, they released the EPs Orchestral Pop Noir Romantique and Protest, respectively, as well as a collection of unreleased songs, Nor the Dahlias. In 2003 they released their second full-length album No Cities Left, and a string of highly anticipated shows at SXSW ‘04 launched their international career. Gang of Losers was released in 2006, was well received by the press, and was shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize. A tumultuous transitory period followed. The Dears emerged, stolid, with another meticulously crafted classic, Missiles in 2008, and later 2011’s Degeneration Street.
The themes covered on their latest work (sixth and seventh albums) Times Infinity Volume One and Times Infinity Volume Two, respectively, are generally “Romantique” — familiar territory for The Dears; unconditional love, longing, and a debilitating fear of loneliness. Written over a two-year period, both albums were committed to audio over several recording sessions at the luxuriant Revolution Recording (Toronto) and Thee Mighty Hotel2Tango (Montréal).
The sound is described by Natalia as “utterly chill while staying true to the band’s tradition of embracing our refined yet sloppy roots.” The performance that most captures this is Volume Onesingle, “I Used To Pray For The Heavens To Fall.”
Times Infinity Volume Two, completed in tandem, will be released internationally in 2017, soon after Volume One. The band notes that Volume Two is the “much darker” installment of the pair.
Of the project, Murray says: “Putting these two records together was like solving a puzzle: Volume One was about finding the edge pieces while Volume Two was about the middle pieces. It was very difficult to wrap one’s head around at first, but by the end of production, it just became easier and easier. It’s a metaphor for life, and our life’s story.”