The Dears

By CH Smith

Music reflects the depth and character of the people who write it, and every once in a while, a band hits it right on the head. The Dears just happen to be one of those bands.

The Montreal band describes themselves as alternative pop, however, they do not sound mainstream. When asked if The Dears make a conscious effort to stand out from the crowd, Murray Lightburn, vocalist and guitarist responds, “It’s not something that’s at the forefront of our minds when we sit down to write music, it just comes together.”

The Dears are a band that enjoys the creative process, so they enjoy finding new sounds.

“We like to break the mold,” says Lightburn. “It’s good to fuck shit up, to keep people on their toes.”

He voices an interest in incorporating more French into their lyrics as well as making a science fiction album.

He suggests that when you put people together, something original will be born because of the simple fact that people are individuals, not clones. According to Lightburn, the role of the musician is to create art for the purpose of taking care of the soul.

“It’s more like an art thing than a musician thing,” he explains. “We have to respect our souls.”

Lightburn expresses an interest in incorporating a message into music, but he has no desire to be preachy or forceful.

“The music can say something that means something, and if they get it, they get it. The audience can form their own thoughts.”

In addition to audio, visual art such as CD inserts is a part of the music. Lightburn admits that cover art does serve as another way to express something, but The Dears do not feel the need to be flashy. They look for pictures that are appropriate to the music.

“We’re not really a bells and whistle kind of band. A lot of our artwork is pretty minimalistic.”

For their earlier Protest ER, they handmade brushed steel covers allowing them a more immediate connection with the aesthetics of their product.

To be successful as a band people have to know who you are. Not unlike “parasites” that Lightburn refers to in the interview, advertising can have very shallow ends. Lightburn acknowledges that advertising can be beneficial but tempers his concession with the opinion that there are more tasteful ways to bring exposure to a band.

“Money is a silly thing,” according to Lightburn. “It’s something we need to have, but we don’t need to have a lot of it. I’m not going to judge what other people do. Some people are motivated by love and some people are motivated by money. At the end of the day, love will always be there.”

The Dears open for Matthew Good at the Whiskey on March 24 and 25. Their new album, No Cities Left, will be out in April of 2003.