The Dears are Dead; Long Live the Dears


The good news: Montreal's The Dears are back with a new album, Missles, due in October on Dangerbird in the US and Maple Music in Canada. The bad news: the band as we've known them for the last five years is no more, with only founding members (and now married couple with daughter) Murray Lightburn and keyboardist Natalia Yanchack remaining. Which is sad, as The Dears were one of the best live bands of the '00s, playing some truly spectacular gigs in 2005 and 2006 especially. Not that they won't still be, but truly that was a classic line-up. Here's the scoop, straight from Murray's mouth (and The Dears' MySpace):

This could have been a message saying that The Dears is over.


Almost 10 years ago, The Dears made a ghetto little record called "End of A Hollywood Bedtime Story." We were a four piece back then until two dudes split right after we finished making it, leaving just me and Natalia. I called up a few people and within a month we were resurrected as a six piece. We were brand new, with a new record in hand that the others adopted as their own. We went on to make two more records, a couple of EPs and tour the world many times. Plenty of laughs. We had a couple of exits in that time but the last four years saw the same line up.

I'm not going to lie to you kids: The new Dears album has been completed since April. It is called MISSILES. We have been wandering around the music industry wilderness the whole time, trying to secure a release date for the Fall. It's getting pretty f***ed out there. We thought very seriously about doing it ourselves. But that just wasn't realistic at all. Not in the least. And our relationships with Bella Union and Arts & Crafts had run their course. So at the 11th hour, in walked Dangerbird. Our beloved MapleMusic Recordings is still there for us and will release the record in Canada while Dangerbird Records will release it everywhere else. Should be an interesting/entertaining journey.

We want to bring you this record whole and still warm. It's beautiful; that is the only way to describe it. A blues album, essentially. It's also long and kind of paced for love making, because that really makes everything better. 58 minutes, 16 seconds, 10 songs. One song is over 11 minutes, just like the old days. Come October, we encourage you to seek it out; it is worth every penny and all the dough just goes back into making more records, not buying solid gold houses. Thanks, in advance.

We had quite an experience making it and by the end, only Natalia and I were left. The band line up as you've known has come to a close and now it's just as it was when we began: Natalia and I, looking after every aspect ourselves. Trust us when we say it is for the best. The music, philosophy — the art has been preserved with fervency. The Dears not are but is. In our mind it always has been that way, the sum of parts to create one vision. Or something like that. Personally, we feel fortunate to have a role in the birthing of every tune, in its arrival from the cosmos.

Anyway, there is a little nugget on our website, one of our faves, a soul-crushing classic:

We are moving to organize some live concerts for October with an almost completely new line up, as a seven piece. We've been rehearsing a couple times a week. It's a bit weird, to be honest, looking around at all the new faces. But it's incredibly exciting to hear the sounds come alive again, and for all the right reasons with all the right intentions. Be excited. It is a new beginning.

Eternal Love,
Murray + Natalia P/K/A THE DEARS


There's also a taster from Missles on The Dears website and MySpace, called "Meltdown in A Major."

MP3: The Dears – Meltdown in A Major (MySpace rip)

Here's the whole Missles tracklisting:

1) Disclaimer
2) Dream Job
3) Money Babies
4) Berlin Heart
5) Lights Off
6) Crisis 1 & 2
7) Demons
8) Missiles
9) Meltdown In A Major
10) Saviour

From what I can tell this is pretty recent news, and that the lineup from No Cities Left and Gang of Losers played on Missles. In an interview posted July 24 on Canadian music site I Heart Music, now ex-guitarist Patrick Kreif was asked about the new Dears album, to which he answers somewhat carefully: "The album’s done. No idea of the release date. But it’s finished, 100%.
I think it’s a good record. But at the moment, this band is our baby.
It’s a baby that still has a future, that we can mould and nurture.
It’s not an adolescent that talks back to you."

The "this band is our baby" bit he's talking about his band Black Diamond Bay, which until recently was known as Krief, but has now gone from solo-thing to main thing. BDB and also features  recently-departed Dears drummer George Donoso and the two of them will be the most-missed in the Dears.

The Dears and Black Diamond Bay both still list each other in their Top Friends on their respective MySpace pages, so maybe the split wasn't too acrimonious. I'm sure we'll learn more as the release date to Missles approaches.

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