I don’t know if The Dears are lucky, psychic or somehow know something we don’t. But even at a time when countless songs and albums seem to have been tailor-made for our current situation, the Montreal orch-rock veterans’ eighth album is so suspiciously on the nose it’s almost disturbing. I mean, come on: There are songs titled We’ll Go Into Hiding, Instant Nightmare, The Worst In Us, Play Dead and No Place On Earth. And lyrics like, “I can definitely feel the ails taking over us,” “This is an instant nightmare, but no one gives a damn / We know it’s all been made up,” and “Well, nobody wants to die, but does anyone want to live another day going through the motions?” Seriously. And of course, those prescient (and, it must be said, ultimately resilient) lyrics are exquisitely framed by the band’s signature sound — darkly grand, lushly swooning art-rock that shares strands of DNA with everyone from Blur and Pulp to Smashing Pumpkins. Bottom line: If there’s a more topically relevant and resonant album to lock yourself in the house with and obsess over this week, I haven’t heard it.
THE PRESS RELEASE: “Montréal stalwarts The Dears have announced the release of their eighth studio album Lovers Rock. The Dears’ 2003 breakthrough album No Cities Left was a crepuscular, romantic soundtrack to uncertain times. 9/11. War. The looming economic crisis. Nearly two decades later, as Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak began work on Lovers Rock, the world’s mood felt eerily similar There’s a direct line between the sort of doominess of No Cities Left and this album,” says Lightburn. “You could go straight from Lovers Rock to No Cities Left and it’s like they’re interlocked. But it’s a different kind of doom. Around 2001, it felt like, ‘We have no control. We don’t know what’s going to happen next.’ Now it’s a doom that’s within our grasp. It’s in the air. It’s between us. But we do nothing about it.” If The Dears have always made apocalyptic love songs for an existential crisis, there are also other constants, starting, of course, with the band’s two core members for two decades: Lightburn and Yanchak. There are also certain sonic and aesthetic parameters, within which the music can be both unsettlingly experimental and impossibly lush: part Bacharach, part Krautrock. From the anthemic anger and driving resignation of Heart of An Animal to the swoony, swerving, epic The Worst In Us, Lovers Rock is the sound of The Dears topping themselves yet again, an accomplishment borne of ambition, hard work, and a strong sense of identity. “The question we’re asking in the music is, ‘How do we navigate so much bullshit in this world?’ ” says Lightburn. “We’re still playing this dumb rock music. But there’s always gonna be a little twist of the knife, cutting into something deep to make you feel like you’re alive. To say, ‘I know what you’re going through. And I’m hearing you, and I’m with you.’ That’s what the music is supposed to do.”