|©2000 Grenadine Records
1. C'était Pour La Passion
2. Jazz Waltz No. 3 In B Flat
3. This Is A Broadcast
4. Where The World Begins And Ends
5. Heartless Romantic
6. End Of A Hollywood Bedtime Story
7. There Is No Such Thing As Love
8. Partir, Par Terre
Were I responsible for time and location-shifting bands so that their discographies suited their environments, The Dears would be on an express train for 1960s England (while Serge Gainsbourg is there on business). Their synths and jangly guitars suggest the best of that era's Britpop, while singer Murray Lightburn - dubbed "the black Morrissey", albeit somewhat inaccurately - even emotes in an accent befitting London, despite hailing from Montréal. What keeps The Dears' sound from being dated is mostly a simple adherence to the art of good songwriting; their sense of pop aesthetic is nearly impeccable, as are their dynamics. The band isn't bound to three-point-five-minute song conventions, though, seemingly unafraid to let the music sprawl and linger: "Where the World Begins and Ends" is a lengthy instrumental worthy of a place in a film somewhere, and the ten minute monster "There Is No Such Thing As Love" demonstrates an ability to wander without becoming completely repetitive and monotonous.
Normally, I would be suspicious of such critically lauded groups as The Dears, especially since the accolades come from such dubious sources as indie rock/underground circles - who have tendencies to align themselves with intentionally difficult or pompous music in order to appear part of the vanguard - but I happened to hear this album before hearing the commendations. While technically, reading this review would mean being tainted by more positive media for End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story, that shouldn't stop you on your way to acquire it. Which is just what you should do, if you have any inclination toward indie pop that's gorgeously just this side of pretentious.
Review by C. LeRoux
Review date: 08/2001