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The Dears – Missiles

Released on Dangerbird Records on 10/21/08

The Dears are (now) comprised of husband and wife team Murray Lightburn (vocals/guitars/keyboards) and Natalie Yanchak (keyboards, backing vocals) as they release their fourth studio album Missiles. Recorded with an amalgam of studio musicians following the departure of all members, except Lightburn and Yanchak, this Montreal group manages to crank out a decent album, despite all the personnel problems.

While it’s a far cry from a home run, Missiles has its fair share of decent tunes. “Big Dream” recalls classic Pink Floyd -- a simple melody with a lot of space for crisp, spacy guitar licks akin to David Gilmour. Lightburn has been likened to Morrissey, but here he sounds like Thom Yorke at a much lower register. Even many of the songs sound like Radiohead, especially “Lights Off” as Lightburn repeats “leave the hat on the bed” in true frenetic Yorke style.

Then there are songs like “Money Babies,” which starts off slow and blows up into a huge, explosive chorus. Unfortunately, that’s how most of the record is. It’s mostly slow and paced with small bouts of melody. When the hooks are playing, it’s great. The guitars are polished with just the right amount of crunch -- even if it is a rip off of Gilmour’s sound -- and the melodies really dig in. But it’s up to the listener if they want to wait for those moments.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Band’s Website: http://www.thedears.org