Montréal quintet The Dears, led by husband & wife duo Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak, have shared the single Heart Of An Animal. It is the second single lifted from their upcoming album ‘Lovers Rock’. Listen to Heart Of An Animal via YouTube below.
Discussing Heart Of An Animal, Lightburn says, “I’ve been trying to get ‘Heart Of An Animal’ on a Dears album for a very long time, but for whatever reason it just never fit. Now it kicks off and sets the overall tone of ‘Lovers Rock’. It was by far the most difficult song to sing for me, as it hits the very top of my range.” Yanchak adds, “It’s a tender, psychedelic runaway train. You should be left wondering where this album is going and let me tell you… it just gets weirder from here.”
‘Lovers Rock’ will arrive digitally on May 15 via Dangerbird Records along with vinyl pre-orders. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the vinyl edition will arrive at retail outlets worldwide on August 21. Pre-order ‘Lovers Rock’ here.
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 they 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,” Lightburn says. “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 first single, 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.
On ‘Lovers Rock,’ Lightburn (vocals, guitar, “other”) and Yanchak (vocals, piano) are joined by longtime drummer Jeff “Looch” Luciani, who’s been in the fold since 2011’s Degeneration Street, and two holdovers from Lightburn’s solo record, Steve Raegele (guitar) and Rémi-Jean LeBlanc (bass). There’s also a string section, a cameo from fellow Montrealer Sam Roberts (who was also on No Cities Left), and saxophone from both Canadian Alex Francoeur and the E Street Band’s Jake Clemons (on the rattling Stille Lost).
Just by being at it for so long, The Dears are able to work faster and more efficiently than most ensembles, which is especially important when you have two kids (and when the business is less remunerative than ever). “The Dears aren’t fucking around,” says Lightburn. “We don’t have time to waste. We’ve got a job to do. And we’re going to do it. 20 years ago, I knew I had a sound in my head, but I didn’t know how to get that down. Now I know how to get that sound.”
You could still call it pop music, “but it’s a different kind of pop music,” says Lightburn. “It’s very focused on a certain type of person. I’m embracing the idea that we’re providing a service,” he adds. Part of that, he thinks, comes from being a parent: “I’m in service to these other humans, so I embrace that role as an artist. I’m making this music because I know that there are people out there who need it.”
“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.”
‘Lovers Rock’ track listing
01. Heart Of An Animal
02. I Know What You’re Thinking And It’s Awful
03. Instant Nightmare!
04. Is This What You Really Want?
05. The Worst In Us
06. Stille Lost
07. No Place On Earth
08. Play Dead
09. Too Many Wrongs
10. We’ll Go Into Hiding
The Dears upcoming European tour, originally slated for April, will now take place in November, while U.S. West Coast dates have been rescheduled for August. New dates for shows in Mexico, the U.S. East Coast, and Ontario will be announced in the coming weeks. View all confirmed dates below. Previously purchased tickets remain valid.
08/27 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill [tickets]
08/28 – Los Angeles, CA @ Moroccan Lounge [tickets]
08/30 – San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar [tickets]
11/10 – Berlin, DE @ Privatclub [tickets]
11/12 – Istanbul, TR @ Babylon Bomonti [tickets]
11/13 – Paris, FR @ La Boule Noiree [tickets]
11/15 – Brussels, BE @ Le Bontanique [tickets]
11/17 – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso [tickets]
11/18 – Rotterdam, NL @ Rotown [tickets]
11/19 – Cambridge, UK @ Portland Arms [tickets]
11/21 – Glasgow, UK @ Drygate Theatre [tickets]
11/22 – Manchester, UK @ Deaf Institute [tickets]
11/23 – Bristol, UK @ Exchange [tickets]
11/24 – London, UK @ The Garage [tickets]
11/25 – Cardiff, UK @ Clwb Ifor Bach [tickets]
11/27 – Athens, GR @ The Temple [tickets]
12/06 – Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern [early show tickets] + [late show tickets]
12/07 – Hamilton, ON @ Mills Hardware [tickets]
12/10 – Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade [tickets]
12/12 – Washington DC @ DC9 [tickets]
For more information on a The Dears, visit thedears.org.