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The Dears
Missiles Julian Marszalek , October 24th, 2008 13:22

The Dears - Missiles

You can’t help but feel for The Dears. Thirteen years into their career and the Montreal band has already been eclipsed by compatriots Arcade Fire and Feist to the kind of degree that they’re unlikely to ever achieve, while around them technoid upstarts Crystal Castles are spinning their outlandish and tall tales to anyone prepared to listen between bouts of heavy vomiting. And that’s before we even stop to consider mainman Murray Lightburn’s burden of being labelled the “Black Morrissey”. All things considered, things don’t look too bright for them.

Indeed, any thoughts of Missiles, the fourth long player from The Dears, changing the situation are soon brought down to earth with a mighty snore the longer the album meanders to induce the kind of soporific torpor that would be open to abuse if it was packaged and sold on the black market as alternative to valium.

Which is such a shame because it all starts off so well. 'Disclaimer' is the kind of narcotic wooze that promises an evening in with packet of rolling papers, lava lamps and a steady supply of sugary snacks. It also ends so wonderfully too with the ten-minute closer, 'Saviour', another rummage through the canyons of the mind so delicious that you really don’t want it to finish. Sandwiched between these two delights, however, is music so polite that it doesn’t just step into the hallway to fart; it goes all the way outside to wait for a passing breeze as well.

'Lights Off', the album’s midpoint, is also the collection’s nadir, topped off as it is with one the most pointless and aimless guitar solos ever committed to posterity. Aping the blues with all the glee of someone who’s finally learnt to master their guitar’s scales, it drones endlessly on with little thought of reason or consequence. Of course, you’d be hard be pushed to notice it because by this point, the kettle or the internet or the setting sun or your neighbours arguing over who’s turn it is to take the rubbish out will be of more interest than what’s on offer here.

This is music so wilfully indie and fey that it can’t help but bring to mind Dennis The Menace’s nemesis Walter The Softy. These are times for anger, rage and passion. Instead, The Dears offer introspection, misplaced sensitivity and awkward shuffling. Even old dears get wound up more than this lot and right now, that just won’t do. Oh dear, oh dear…

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