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The Dears — Times Infinity, Vol. Two (Jul 14, 2017)

The Dears — Times Infinity, Vol. Two (Jul 14, 2017)

          The Dears — Times Infinity, Vol. Two (Jul 14, 2017)The Dears — Times Infinity, Vol. Two (Jul 14, 2017)★→•»  Moody, Brit~pop~influnced chamber rock from this Montreal collective led by enigmatic frontman Murray Lightburn.
Formed: 1995 in Montréal, Québec, Canada
Location: Montréal, Québec, Canada
Genre: orchestral~pop~noir~romantique
Album release: Jul 14, 2017
Record Label: Paper Bag/Dangerbird Records
Duration:     41:33
Tracks:
01 Taking It to the Grave     3:58
02 All the Hail Marys     4:09
03 Of Fisticuffs     3:02
04 Nothing in It for Me Nothing in It for You     4:18
05 1998     3:50
06 Until Deathrow     4:17
07 Guns or Knives     5:11
08 I’m Sorry That I Wished You Dead     3:47
09 I Love You Times Infinity     4:29
10 End of Tour     4:32
℗ 2017 Dangerbird Records
Personnel:
•»  Murray Lightburn
•»  Natalia Yanchak
•»  Patrick Krief
•»  Roberto Arquilla
•»  Jeff Luciani
Credits:
★   Thierry Amar Engineer
★   Roberto Arquilla Group Member, Guitar (Bass)
★   Howard Bilerman Engineer
★   João Carvalho Mastering
★   The Dears Arranger
★   Sheila Hannigan Cello
★   Sage Kim Assistant Mastering Engineer
★   Stephen Koszler Assistant Engineer
★   Patrick Krief Group Member, Guitar
★   Murray Lightburn Group Member, Guitar, Mixing, Voices
★   Bryan Lowe Assistant
★   Jeff Luciani Drums, Group Member
★   Efrim Menuck Engineer
★   Ligia Paquin Viola
★   François Pilon Violin
★   Dave Schiffman Engineer
★   Heather Schnarr Violin
★   Chris Seligman French Horn
★   Natalia Yanchak Group Member, Keyboards, Voices
Notes:
★”“★   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 One single, “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.”
Review
Lauren Murphy. Thu, Jul 13, 2017, 10:30 / Score: ****
The Dears — Times Infinity Volume Two album review: Still capable of surprise.
★”“★   They have never been a particularly upbeat band, so when Montreal’s The Dears proclaim their seventh album to be among their darkest to date, you have some idea of what’s in store.
★”“★   Even so, there is light amidst the shadows cast by Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak’s band, heard in glimmers on the playful, dramatic indie flourishes of 1998, the softness of I Love You Times Infinity and the colourful, cluttered buzz of Of Fisticuffs.
★”“★   Elsewhere, there is a delicious sense of defiance and despair on the Radiohead~esque Nothing In It For Me, Nothing In It For You, while All the Hail Marys begins with sombre organ before erupting into a mass of noise and zippy synths. Seven albums in, they’re still capable of surprises. ★”“★   https://www.irishtimes.com/
Review
By Lee Zimmerman  |  July 18, 2017  |  9:36am  |  Score: 7.4
→   •»  Murray Lightburn has never suffered from a lack of ambition. His tenure at the helm of The Dears, a role he shares with wife and co~conspirator Natalia Yanchak, has found him steering the band through an ever~shifting array of soundscapes over the past 20 years, making them one of Montreal’s most intriguing, if not always easily accessible, outfits. They made rapid headway from the beginning, courtesy of early efforts that went by exotic titles like Orchestral Pop Noir Romantique, No Cities Left, Degeneration Street, and Gang of Losers, recordings that suggested more than a hint of exoticism, ambition, posturing and pretension. One astute observer described them as “the sonic equivalent of seeing the face of God,” and while that’s an elusive metaphor at best, it does tend to illuminate Lightburn and Yanchak’s grand designs.
→   •»  Two years on from its predecessor, Times Infinity Volume One, this new album, clearly intended as a sequel, offers a moody collision of sprawling yet succinct melodies, all driven by Lightburn’s irrepressible croon, didactic rhythms and arrangements that are measured and articulate. Despite suffering from a steady ebb and flow of musical contributors over the course of their collective career, the music still taps into a cinematic style, turning songs such as “1998” and “All the Hail Marys” into narratives full of arched drama and concerted deliberation. All that is evident at the outset, given such oddly perverse song titles as “Nothing In It For Me Nothing In It For You,” “Until Deathrow” and “I’m Sorry That I Wished You Dead.” “You don’t care if I’m a sinner or a massive soul,” Lightburn wails on the latter. “I have another story and it’s far from told.”
→   •»  In fact, it’s clear here that Lightburn has no shortage of discourse and diatribes to lay bare before The Dears’ fans, and while they’re not nearly as dark and morbid as the overall ambiance often suggests (the lithe, ethereal “Taking It To The Grave” being but one major exception), he and his colleagues do have an innate ability to create an unusual aura, flush with glamour and solemnity all in the space of a single song. Their aural precedents are obvious — Bryan Ferry, Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave often come to mind — but Lightburn and Yanchak’s searing, soaring designs suggest an apocalyptic encounter where a faint glimmer of light may still have room, and reason, to exist.   →   •»  https://www.pastemagazine.com/
Review
By Dave Mix, Published Jul 13, 2017 / Score: 8
→  While many of their early aughts Belle Province contemporaries have faded away, the Dears have pressed on, steadily swooning their way through four melodramatic full~lengths since the classic No Cities Left in 2003. Now, they’re back with Times Infinity Volume Two, the followup to 2015’s excellent Volume One.
→  Despite multiple lineup changes in recent years, Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak remain the emotional centre of the band, like lighthouse keepers for any hopeless indie~rock romantics at sea. This latest record, which plays with themes of commitment and devotion, is a defiant declaration that the Dears have no plans of letting that light go out.
→  The through~line from Volume One is more prominent vocal contributions from Yanchak, who sang lead on one of that record’s best tracks, the haunting “Onward and Downward.” The leadoff track for Volume Two, “Taking it to the Grave,” sees Yanchak right back in fine form, with her distinctive vocals yielding to an extended guitar freak~out. As for the rest of Side A, “Of Fisticuffs” is a quintessentially maudlin Dears stomper, and future fan favourite “1998” is another reminder of all the things you should still love about this band. Not a bad start.
→  The back half of the record is a little more restrained and contemplative, with a resigned, weary feel that’s reminiscent of their unjustly overlooked 2008 record Missiles. Album closer and Side B highlight “End of Tour” is a strangely hopeful and resonant song that finds Lightburn pleading, “Please don’t go / I won’t face this world without you.” This could be a paean to his partner, or to his band, but the pure feeling it conveys encapsulates what has always been great about the Dears. Though the fanfare surrounding the band may have dwindled slightly, the heartfelt emotion they deliver has not.   →  http://exclaim.ca/
Bandcamp: https://thedears.bandcamp.com/
Label: http://pheromonerecordings.com/
Website: http://www.thedears.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thedears
MySpace: https://myspace.com/thedears
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheDears/
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The Dears — Times Infinity, Vol. Two (Jul 14, 2017)

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