The Dears front-man Murray Lightburn had the following to say about their upcoming release “Times Infinity: Volume One”, the first of a two-part compilation: “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”.
Listening to this first volume (with Volume Two scheduled for release later this year) it’s only possible to piece together the start of this puzzle, but certainly after a six year hiatus since the bands last release, this compilation returns to the sound of their earlier years, not only more polished but with a tangible embodied fragility that ties to its central theme – eternal love.
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The start of the album is a nod to their musical growth. ‘We Lost Everything’ leads an anticipatory swell into intricate layers of synth and sound. The track stands as a compact version of the emotional powers and dexterity of The Dears. ‘I Used To Pray For The Heavens To Fall’, starts with a chilled funk tone, it’s hard to think it can transition in anything else – and then of course, it does, shifting from genre to genre seamlessly.
‘To Hold And Have’ is the first song that brings out The Dears ability to compose songs that seem like they could have come from any music era, with a fading intro and persistent ostinato that brings the sensation of wandering into a looping love story. Song after song transports us through these changing genres and emotions.
Stand-out track ‘Here’s To The Death Of All The Romance’ is a follow-up to the popular ’22: The Death Of All The Romance’ from 12 years previous. The band, typically elusive, refers to it as “a sequel to ‘22’ – but with a drum breakdown that lends well to spazzy interpretive dance moves in a top hat”. But it’s more than that. The song is a true reflection of love over time. No longer are they 22 – “you’re making me feel good, you’re making me feel young“, they sing – and nor are they so emotionally open and unforgiving.
“Times Infinity Volume One” leaves the listener longing for Volume Two – if these are the ‘edge pieces’, what will be the middle? What’s clear from this album is one thing…The Dears don’t want to be summed up as catchy. This isn’t a set of driving classics like their 2003 album ‘No Cities Left’. Instead, they’re looking to unravel a musical experience and to seek the souls, entrust the thinkers, who are looking to unwind these questions and answers too. There are some songs that are fast favorite’s, but as a whole work the compilation will keep the avid listener coming back for more. There’s a lot to look forward to in Volume Two.
“Times Infinity Volume One” is out on the 3rd February 2017 via Dangerbird Records.