Listening to Missiles, I get the distinct feeling The Dears (MySpace) were heavily influenced by two albums–unless you take the first few minutes of opening track “Disclaimer” into account, in which you could rephrase that statement to be two bands. If you look at the former, the albums are The Bends and OK Computer. It’s not only in select vocal tracks, but also in the sound of guitars and even a few guitar riffs. It’s not always like this, though, and “Disclaimer” is a prime example. That early sax solo reminded me a bit of Pink Floyd–though the relation is a bit of a stretch.
But The Dears do make cohesive music; it’s melodically melancholy, yet equally refreshing and relaxing. If a song title were to encapsulate this music, it would be “Dream Job” with extra emphasis on the first word–the music is definitely dreamy thanks to lengthy synth notes and reverb in the guitar.
Side note: I’ve started to notice something. Bands on Dangerbird tend to sound like this. No, they’re not knockoffs of each other; but like other indie labels, Dangerbird seems to have found its niche, and it seems to be working quite well.
Back to my earlier reference to Radiohead. It may be tough to hear at times, as The Dears’ vocalist sounds nothing like Thom Yorke. However, listen to songs like “Berlin Hearts” and “Lights Off” and you’ll hear it–there are several musical references to “Paranoid Android” in the latter, from a few vocal hooks, to the finger-picked guitar riff about a minute-thirty in, to the time change experienced around the midpoint. Oddly enough, both seem to be among the better tunes off Missiles.
The eerie strings in songs like the title are emotively hypnotic, making the entrance of electric guitars and wild solo that much more powerful. That’s why I don’t mind the selective similarities to early Radiohead. Because, when it comes down to it, even these similarities don’t keep The Dears from being innovative and earnest.
Dangerbird Records [CD, 2008]
2. Dream Job
3. Money Babies
4. Berlin Heart
5. Lights Off
6. Crisis 1 & 2
9. Meltdown In A Major