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Degeneration Street

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

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Product details

  • Audio CD (3 Mar. 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Dangerbird Records / V2 Benelux
  • ASIN: B004NIYGQO
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 143,643 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

BBC Review

Seasons come and seasons go, just as do members of Canada’s Anglophile bombast rockers The Dears. Their fifth album sees the core membership of singer and songwriter Murray Lightburn and his wife Natalia Yanchak augmented this time around by four other members.

Although he’s left behind the orchestral pop noir sound of The Dears’ early years, and these days relies largely on keyboards and guitars, Lightburn still seems far more fond of overstatement than understatement, and shows a definite preference for dense arrangements. This perhaps begs questions about the wisdom of recording an album in Montreal and sending it to your producer (Tony Hoffer) for mixing in Los Angeles. So much for a producer getting the best performance out of an artist, and giving instant feedback.

Degeneration Street has more than its fair share of catchy hooks, and the usual Dears trademarks of stylistic diversity, with plenty of obvious pop references from the 60s to the 90s. It will no doubt go down well at their famously torrid live shows, and will probably be popular with drivers. Just don’t expect much in the way of subtlety, humour or lyrics that stand up to much analysis in a home listen context. Lightburn may have often been compared to Morrissey, but it’s much more for his vocal tone than any strong sense of irony or wit.

Opening cut Omega Dog finds Lightburn adopting a falsetto croon that makes him sound like Curtis Mayfield fronting Ultravox, before segueing stylishly into the suspenseful Arcade Fire-in-Motown rush of 5 Chords. It’s the first example of the power and inventiveness of drummer Jeff Luciani, who is at his most energetic on Yesteryear, which also draws on a skipping tempo typical of fare on Berry Gordy’s famous label.

The other references are mostly British, from the Pulp-goes-glam drive of Thrones, through a couple of shameless Radiohead rip-offs (Galactic Tides, Unsung) to the Hollies-style backing vocals that crop up on Lamentation and elsewhere. The frenzied Stick W/ Me Kid is fuelled by the kind of paranoia that Muse have made a trademark, but apparently without the tongue-in-cheek humour. By the time you get to the rare calm of the title-track (Damon Albarn does Pink Floyd) you’ll probably wish they’d edited out a few tracks and given the remaining ones titles that made some kind of sense. Though not without merit, the overriding sensation is one of empty melodrama.

--Jon Lusk

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I'm not one for writing a lengthy review but I will say that this album is excellent. The variety of songs is there to be heard and although there are some dark moments as we might expect from a Dears album there are some uplifting songs too. In my opinion this is probably the Dears best work so far, certainly up there with No Cities Left which I favour over the 2 albums between. My only slight criticism is there may be a little bit of a jump on the Arcade Fire band wagon. There are some definite comparisons found on the album, notibly on Yesteryear but who cares, I like them too!
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Format: Audio CD
Bought this as part of all their back catalogue after seeing them live a while back. All are good, this is brilliant - as other reviews say there's hints of everything from Pink Floyd, Blur, Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Elvis Costello and Pulp in here and yet it's individual too - another similar sound (to me) is the National so if you like any of the above would highly recommend! Not a duff track on it and some really great ones.Has had many plays since I bought it.
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Format: Audio CD
its such a great feeling when you discover a band without any one else recommending them,i nly discovered these because i saw this album cheap and i took a chance.wow how did i not hear about these before there great,they remind me of a cross between early interpol and arcade fire,but they have ther own sound which is so varied asnd engrossing i absolutely love em i have ordered all there back catalogue,and so far love it all.he hasnt got an amazing voice but somehow it adds to it.if you like your indy music go out and buy it,i havent heard a better album in this genre,im just embarrased im 6 years behind
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This album on first listen did not engage me at all even though it made all the right sounds, this may be down to the production which is denser and a little heavy handed in my humble opinion. The songs themselves for the most part just seem to lack that killer hook or melody for which Murray Lightburn & crew have been so adept at pulling out of a song in the past. Thats not to say there arn't good songs on here they just arn't as good as past glories. The opener Omega Dog gets things off to a good start with a funky little riff that moves free and easy from verse to chorus, Thrones the fourth track has a nice urgency to it with a chorus and some nice guitar that lives up to the billing. Other tracks worth mentioning are Easy Suffering which has a little bit of Birdsy guitar and a melancholy feel that The Dears do so well and also Unsung which builds to memorable finale and doesn't outstay its welcome unlike the album as a whole which does. So overall this album has some fine moments but fails to reach the high watermark set by Gang Of Losers which to me is there finest album by a country mile.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8b389534) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8b3c6204) out of 5 stars Life may be a sinking ship, 22 Jun. 2011
By AaronNoir - Published on Amazon.com
but let your raised fist be the last thing to go under. That's the best way I can sum up the Dears. The feeling I get from Lightburn and company is not so much that life can be miserable, but that you should lean into it and fight for joy. Your gonna hurt anyway, so take your licks. It's worth it. Sort of like what Morgan Freeman says at the end of Seven: "Hemingway said the world is a beautiful place and worth fighting for. I believe in the second part." I can be a cynical curmudgeon, but I seldom find myself more idealistic than I do after listening to the exuberant music of the Dears. They've been a go to band when I've got the blues since a friend recommended them back when No Cities Left came out. In my opinion Degeneration Street is definitely worth your hard earned money, especially while it's $2.99. It's worth it for the songs Blood and Galactic Tides alone. While I'm singing their praises let me also mention that they provided me one of the most memorable concert experiences of my life. I saw them in Denton, TX a couple of years ago. There were maybe fifty other people there. I've seen this sort of attendance make bands sullenly bang through a set and sulk off to the merch table to scowl and grumble. Not the Dears. While the band set up on stage and started playing Savior from the album Missiles, Murray Lightburn took a spot at the back of the crowd and slowly made his way to the stage while singing the opening versus. Before he got on stage he turned around and stood with us to finish the song with a 100% crowd participation sing-along. Then he hopped on stage, and the band performed with the same amount of passion and energy I imagine they would give for a packed stadium.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8b3c660c) out of 5 stars epic, powerful "big-voice" anthems 5 April 2011
By Charlie Quaker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
7th album from ambitiously epic Montreal band. The Dears are led by Murray Lightburn's
powerful & addictive, big-room, swooning vocals--propelling indie pop ballads that slowly build
and evolve into full-on stadium pop anthems. Unique orchestral pop/rock that is stylish, angst-
ridden & captivating. Similarities to Muse, Pulp, Radiohead, Manic Street Preachers, New Order,
Airborne Toxic Event, Queen, Arcade Fire.
HASH(0x8b3c6684) out of 5 stars A worthy Dears addition 9 April 2011
By Michael D. Knapp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
These guys (and gal) truly have an amazing sound and over the years they have been improving and perfecting it, and this album truly showcases what they're capable of. Compared to their earlier work, Degeneration Street has a slightly different sound, but they are still undoubtedly The Dears. This album seems more grand. More epic, though that word gets thrown around way too much these days. But anyway, I don't want to bore you. Put simply: I love this album. It's been in constant rotation since I picked it up a month or two ago. Omega Dog, 5 Chords, Blood, Thrones, Stick With Me Kid...it's crammed full of stellar songs, and honestly I can't recommend it highly enough. Also, on a side note, if you get a chance to see 'em live, do NOT miss out. They put on an amazing show.
HASH(0x8b3c6a14) out of 5 stars one of my favourite albums. I don't know what genre The Dears ... 12 Jun. 2015
By Jacob Dalton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Hands-down, one of my favourite albums. I don't know what genre The Dears are usually listed with, but a better one for them would be "indie grunge". Their sound is an aesthetic in and of itself.
HASH(0x8b3c6a44) out of 5 stars Five Stars 21 Jan. 2016
By Mazoué - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Very beautiful album.
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