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The Dears

Bringing It All Back Home

Jan 05, 2016 Photography by Richmond Lam Issue #55 - November/December 2015 - EL VY
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Murray Lightburn is feeling philosophical. The Dears frontman apologies profusely for his conversational rabbit trails, crediting his meandering deep thoughts to the exhaustion of balancing album promotion and daily life as the father of two. But he’s also the first to acknowledge that his mental processes onstage and off mirror each other. It’s something he found himself trying to expand upon with his band’s sixth album, Times Infinity Volume One, and the forthcoming Volume Two (due out in early 2016). Deep thought is inevitable. But it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom.

“When you scratch just far enough beneath the surface of everything that we’ve done, what we tend to do is examine a problem almost to death in search of a way out of the problem,” he notes. “The real difference with this album is that it’s not so focused on problems or anything too negative. I think where it’s coming from, there’s a sense of looking back with a nostalgic sort of feeling.”

Times Infinity‘s lyrics are some of the most straightforward the band has offered up, comforts offered by lovers, family, and friends. Lightburn attributes this warm sentimentality in no small part to his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, having been a part of The Dears for 20 years, and coming up on his 10th wedding anniversary with his wife and Dears keyboardist, Natalia Yanchak.

“These kinds of commitments that you make seem to go on forever. You don’t see a way out or any reason for it to be over. You think about it in the sense of like, this foreverness that comes into your mind. You start thinking about the things that you want in your life forever…. That’s something that I wanted to examine with the blessing of the band, lyrically. That’s what I really wanted to bring forward. This idea of ‘I love you times infinity.’”

Like most of The Dears’ offerings, Times Infinity is a dense listen, the drama of guitars and percussion given a sizable assist by Lightburn’s sonorous bellow. The band admits that their complex musical and world views don’t necessarily fit into the cultural landscape, offering up a verbal eye-roll at the thought they might ever be tempted to conform. Yanchak, who sings on album tracks “You Can’t Get Born Again” and “Onward and Downward,” is pragmatic about The Dears’ place in pop culture.

“There’s no one out there trying to find songwriters,” she says. “We’ll never have a Janis Joplin again. We’ll never have a not visually perfect, asymmetrical celebrity that’s also a super talented artist…. We’re definitely not symmetrical! It’s a superficial business. But all entertainment is.”

For his part, Lightburn is more optimistic. Sure, they didn’t dumb anything down. But perhaps there’s a market, somewhere on the fringes, for their brand of noir pop sensitivity.

“Everybody likes a story,” he muses. “What’s the story about? You can fill in the blanks and put whatever you want in those blanks and apply it to yourself. I think that’s where the refined part comes into record making and songwriting. Taking the time off that we did, wandering the wilderness and coming up with this. We definitely do hope that it stands apart. But not so much that it’s ignored.”

[Note: This article first appeared in Under the Radar’s November/December Issue, which is still on newsstands. This is its debut online.]


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Top Hip Hop Music
January 6th 2016

I like the feeling this song gives to those who have been in love before. It is true that once you draw so much interest to someone, you have to continue your life trying to work it out with them. If that person doesn’t see your efforts, you must try forever to show them how much they mean to you. If it wasn’t true love, you would move on.

That is the end to all romance. Somebody else might deserve your efforts, but you are challenged to please the one that can’t see them. Love is such a strong thing that you can’t just get rid of if you truly believe in it. It’s hard to just move to the next person because you know that current one is where you began all your efforts.

You don’t want to fail because it will mean that you didn’t try hard enough. In order to succeed, they must draw interest back. You try everything in your power to show them what they mean to you. It is not fair that they receive all your efforts because they may not deserve them.

Bottom line is that you have to keep on giving because you love them. There is no other way of life in your eyes. As long as no one sees that you are head over heals for them, it won’t matter to you. Your life has to remain private now and your journey must continue.