The Dears :
The Dears, a critically acclaimed “orchestral-pop-noir-romantique” rock’n’roll band from Montréal, is the lifework of Murray A. Lightburn. Son of a jazzman-turned-preacher, Lightburn’s attunement to songwriting was shaped equally by nineties rock and a broad tableau of gospel, soul, and pop music. The band formed in 1995 and released their first album, End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story, in 2000. Their orchestral, dark pop sound and dramatic live shows cemented The Dears at the foundation of the then-emerging Canadian indie renaissance. In 2001 and 2002, they released the EPs Orchestral Pop Noir Romantique and Protest, respectively, as well as a collection of unreleased songs, Nor the Dahlias. In 2003 they released their second full-length album No Cities Left, and a string of highly anticipated shows at SxSW ’04 launched their international career. Gang of Losers was released in 2006, and was well received by the press.
The Dears’ music has been described as a cross between The Smiths and Serge Gainsbourg with Lightburn’s singing voice being likened to Morrissey as well as Blur’s Damon Albarn. The complexity of the music and arrangements has also been compared to Radiohead, Jethro Tull and early Genesis. The Dears’ powerful live shows have been described as: “…the sonic equivalent of seeing the face of God.” Gang of Losers was named to the Short List for the 2007 Polaris Music Prize, and the follow-up Missiles was released in 2008. The Dears’ fifth studio album, Degeneration Street, was a Long List nominee for the 2011 Polaris Music Prize.
Sometime in 2016, just as the Polish singer and producer Tobiasz Biliński began to find success through the dim and fractured electropop of Coldair, he knew it was time for a radical change. The songs on The Provider, Coldair’s much-lauded third album, had been an exorcism of sorts. Laced with songs about early death, chronic disappointment, and clouded minds, the record was, as he puts it now, his earnest attempt to “get all this old shit out.” That mission accomplished, he needed something new, a restart—the unabashedly radiant and unapologetically complex pop of Perfect Son, delivered in 10 perfect shots on Biliński’s Sub Pop debut, Cast.
Perfect Son, it should be said, is Sub Pop’s first Polish artist, the result of an extended interest in Biliński’s work and the country itself from label co-founder Jonathan Poneman. Several years ago, Biliński applied to play at South by Southwest as Coldair. Poneman saw his performance, and was impressed. The two stayed in touch, with Poneman eventually signing Coldair to a publishing deal. “I bugged him about releasing my stuff constantly,” Biliński admits with a laugh. “And I guess he admired my persistence.”
The Dears :