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Dears take fresh look at old tunes


Published in the Victoria Times Colonist

Nothing gets old for the Dears’ Murray Lightburn.

Sure, it seems as if he released Missiles a long time ago (October 2008, to be precise). Sure, he sat on the record for a number of months previous to that before deciding to go with L.A.-based label Dangerbird Records. But according to the Dears’ frontman, who is finally taking his dark orchestral pop sounds on the road, the songs on Missiles haven’t lost their initial allure and never will.

“It’s been thoroughly inspiring to play these songs every night,” Lightburn says over the phone from a hotel somewhere in the middle of Oregon. “I don’t get tired of singing any single one of them. Especially when the songs are boosted by the energy of the crowd, it gets so intense that it’s just like a supernova. It’s crazy.

“I’ve learned to separate myself from my songs and whatever I was feeling when I wrote them,” Lightburn continues.

“I figure the songs are just coming from some other place. I’m just here to sort of deliver it and not get too attached to the place or when it was written. I grew out of that a long time ago. For a long time I had a hard time singing Heartless Romantic because of the place I was in when I wrote it, but I just kind of grew up. I said, ‘F— it, might as well just sing it.’ People want to hear it. It’s not about me anymore. It’s about the songs.”

Aside from a short swoop across the country with Metric, Tokyo Police Club and Sebastien Grainger for the Jingle Bell Rock tour in December, the Dears haven’t had a chance to showcase Missiles. One reason is that Murray seems like the busiest person on earth, as well as parenting 31/2 year-old daughter Neptune alongside wife/bandmate Natalia Yanchak.

The gang of musical misfits is six weeks into its extensive North American tour, and still Lightburn wishes he could be performing more dates to make up for the lost time.

Over the phone, Lightburn’s voice sounds sleepy and distant, the remnants of a recent nap still audible through the receiver, but regardless of how exhausting he says the past several shows have been, he’s still thinking ahead toward his next challenge.

“Once we’re done this tour we’ll probably head back into the laboratory and start working on the next record,” Lightburn says, unwilling to say whether or not the current members of the band will be the ones to contribute.

“Something we haven’t really explored thoroughly is making a record that is super tough and hard as nails, yet still has all the elements that the Dears have used in the past like orchestral pop. Something really nasty,

“I think. I’m not sure where that’s going. Just from the sounds I hear in my head these days, it sounds like glass. I’d like to explore that.”

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