Children of the Millennium

The Dears walk down Degeneration Street

  • Mar. 2, 2011 8:00 a.m.
Children of the Millennium

The Dears walk down Degeneration Street

When it came time to record their new album, Degeneration Street, the Dears were determined to get it right. Not that one can fault their previous efforts; the Montreal band, despite having its ups and downs, has been at the forefront of Canada’s indie music renaissance since releasing their debut album, End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story, back in 2000. But this time around, frontman Murray Lightburn says the band — whose lineup has changed numerous times over the years, but currently consists of Lightburn and his wife Natalia Yanchak, Roberto Arquilla, Robert Benvie, Patrick Krief and Jeff Luciani — was very calculated in its approach.“We made a concerted effort to make the very best album that we could at this time,” he says. “The band that came together around this album is effectively the same band that made [2008’s] Missiles, except . . . [when making Missiles] we were just hanging around in the studio, around gallons of booze and a tonne of ideas. Whereas when we started putting this record together, the roles were more defined and [we had] a much clearer picture.”It seems that concerted effort has paid off; the album was released to considerable buzz on Feb. 15, and was the focus of the inaugural Polaris Prize Record Salon talk, where Canadian music critics present their top picks for the 2011 Polaris Music Prize ballot. And while, technically, the album was recorded over 16 days, the band entered that studio well prepared.“We recorded 14 songs with strings and vocals, everything; tambourines and keyboards,” says Lightburn. “We just went for it, but we’d spent a good six to eight months preparing for that. We capped it off with a residency in Mexico for three nights, in Mexico City, just to really keep us on our toes so there was no mucking around in the studio.”Lightburn says the live residency allowed the band to tighten and polish the material before laying it down in the studio — a process he’d like to revisit not just to make the record as good as it can be, but also to explore a different approach to making a record. “It’s the original way that music was presented, in a live concert. Then it went into being published, and once it got into being published, it changed everything,” he says. “My worry is that people take the whole thing for granted and, I think for me, personally, I’m into a bit more of a proper way to consume the art … It’s like the way you would have a musical open on Broadway and then eventually they record the soundtrack. The whole package is already developed … you’re just creating an official artifact.”Lightburn also credits L.A. producer Tony Hoffer, who has worked with Stars, Belle and Sebastian, and the Silversun Pickups, with honing the record. “It was kind of like having a referee in the situation, but also having a guide in the muck. We can easily get carried away in our ideas,” he says. “We were very open with the creative process and nobody really got up in our grill about what we were doing, which we really appreciated … It can happen when you open that door, where people will say, ‘Write a goddamn hit’ or something like that. The thing is, our mandate was to make an all A-sides record.”And it appears they have. M

The Dears(with Eulogies)8pm Friday, March 4Sugar Nightclub, 858 YatesTickets $16atomiqueproductions.com    

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Artist Daniel Cline discusses his sculpture, Harmony Humpbacks, during the June 20 walking tour of Oak Bay’s 2019 ArtsAlive sculptures. Harmony Humpbacks was purchased by Oak Bay as the 2019 people’s choice winner and is permanently installed at the Beach Drive entrance to Willows Park. (Kevin Murdoch Photo)
Influx of donated art a ‘fantastic problem to have,’ says Oak Bay mayor

Oak Bay goes from zero to 10 permanent art pieces since 2015

Tomo Vranjes, a Greater Victoria musician and longtime fan of late rock guitar icon Eddie Van Halen, joins artist Paul Archer behind the latter’s Fort Street gallery. Archer, whose airbrushed paintings of rock greats have made him many connections in recent years, painted a likeness of Van Halen following the guitarist’s death last month from cancer. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Victoria artist’s king-sized tribute to Eddie Van Halen draws on personal connection

Paul Archer had an up close and personal day with the legendary guitarist in 1980

The Vancouver Island Symphony’s Back Row Brass Quintet – including trumpeter Mark D’Angelo, tuba player Nick Atkinson and French horn player Karen Hough (from left) – were scheduled to tour the Nanaimo area with Christmas Under the Big Tent, but the concert series has now been cancelled. (Photo courtesy HA Photography)
Symphony brass quintet’s Christmas concert series cancelled

Performances were to happen at venues in Parksville and Lantzville next month

The Sheringham Point Lighthouse, near Shirley. (Contributed - Lee-Ann Ruttan)
New book shines a light on Sheringham Point Lighthouse

Publication examines history, lightkeepers, and volunteer society

Victoria-based guitarist Eric Harper performs at the Port Theatre on Nov. 27. (Photo credit Tatum Duryba)
Classical guitarist to play at the Port Theatre

Eric Harper to play new songs composed during the pandemic

A sample of some of Lou-ann Neel’s jewelry.
Lou-ann Neel wins the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art

Originally from Alert Bay, Neel’s family is steeped in renowned Kwakwaka’wakw artists

I-Hos Gallery manager Ramona Johnson shows some of the paddles available at the retail outlet. Photo by Terry Farrell
I-Hos Gallery celebrates 25 years of promoting First Nation artwork

K’ómoks First Nation-based outlet has art from all over the country

Bard to Broadway Theatre Society may stage shows outdoors next summer. (PQB News photo file)
Qualicum Beach’s Bard to Broadway group may stage shows outdoors

Theatre society plans smaller productions due to ongoing pandemic

A new short film festival called MORVENFEST is encouraging B.C. secondary students to step into the world of film during their Christmas break. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
New film festival gives Victoria students exciting opportunity

MORVENFEST is open to all B.C. secondary students over Christmas break

Most Read