The Dears - Degeneration Street - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Dears - Degeneration Street

by Matt Massara Rating:1.5 Release Date:2011-03-14

Since 2000, The Dears have established a relatively respectable discography. For those who haven't experienced the Montreal outfit's previous material and are listening to their fifth album Degeneration Street, don't go rushing to Amazon for cheaper back orders of each song they have made.

The album kicks in with 'Omega Dog'. There is a laid back yet catchy guitar riff, which creates the image of Lenny Kravitz playing guitar while falling asleep. Murray Lightburn's vocals softly floats through the song and from something that started with moderate interest, it soon depletes into obscurity. The structure and rhythm of the song has sunk and the enthusiasm of the song has deteriorated as fast as a pensioner with a pinwheel.

The album has an echoing, stadium vibe, as though it is entitled to it's own self-created grandeur. But often this feeling falls apart. Regardless of the tone that the album has set for itself it is not the greatest issue listeners should have with the LP. 'Thrones' builds up slowly, before promptly turning into what can only be described as a song by Pulp. 'Tiny Man' has a distinctively recognizable style from the beginning, before unmistakably being interrupted by the opening lyrics of 'Lady Marmalade', even down to the manner in which it is sung. '1854' switches from a powerful Gary Moore solo, mixed with some the vibe of The Black Keys before crunching into 'I Wanna Be Your Dog' by The Stooges, and all this in the first 23 seconds. You could easily have people believe that 'Yesteryear' was a rejected song that narrowly missed out on being on Jack Peñate's album, Matinée.

Degeneration Street is completely disjointed and the band have clearly not recovered from their original split. The songs feel all too familiar. The styles don't even just change from song to song, but within each individual song. There is no consistency, but worse still it appears that the influences have taken control over the album and cast aside any creative originality.

Dark tones and prolonged notes cannot over shadow the fact that The Dears have copied their neighbour's test answers and it's just a matter of time before they are ousted for the naughty boys that they are. Nor do they cover the fact that The Dears would have little problem becoming a cover band, based on the output of this album alone.

It's safe to say that this album won't be the most highly acclaimed band of 2011. But would it be worth listening to an album that has an eclectic range of styles mixed into one album? That depends. Do you like an eclectic range of foods all mixed into one meal? Not unless there is literally nothing left in the restaurant.

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