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No Cities Left

4.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (28 Aug. 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Bella Union
  • ASIN: B00061I0LY
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 87,602 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

Dears - No Cities Left - Cd

Amazon.co.uk

No Cities Left, the debut album from Montreal, Canada's The Dears, confirms it's not just American acts like Interpol and The Killers who currently harbour a guilty crush on the luminous charms of British indie. Such Anglophilic sentiments appear to be mostly courtesy of bandleader Murray Lightburn, whose warm, swoonworthy vocal delivery is pitched somewhere between the warm croon of Morrissey and Damon Albarn caught at his most nakedly earnest. But it would be unfair to dismiss "Lost in the Plot" or "Expect the Worst/'Cos She's A Tourist" on the basis of geography alone, particularly as so often, they threaten to match – and occasionally overwhelm – the originals from which they draw inspiration. An extended line-up that includes a three-piece horn section, The Brebeuf Brass, as well as violin, sax, and double bass brings an fullness of sound to songs like "Pinned Together, Falling Apart"--and Lightburn's refreshingly irony-free delivery leads to some truly lump-in-throat moments: "I have never cried in anybody's arms," he sings on "The Death Of All The Romance", "The way I have often cried in yours." --Louis Pattison

Customer Reviews

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Format: Audio CD
All I knew about The Dears in advance of buying this CD was that they owed a major debt to the Smiths. That combined with the fairly positive media hype around the band pushed me to take a chance and believe me, it was well worth it. No Cities Left is musically and lyrically indebted to Morrisey rather than The Smiths, with the vocals sometimes uncannily similar. Morrisey's vocal style and delivery are aped more than the lyrical side of the great man's canon, but this is by no means a bad thing. Musically, the songwriting and musicianship are strong the record washes over you in waves, rather than picking you up and carrying you. A definite grower, with oodles of emotion and enough interesting stuff going on in the mix to keep your attention. This album is a tribute to the Smiths rather than a Smiths tribute album.
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Format: Audio CD
I bought No Cities Left after going to see The Dears live, which I strongly recommend you do if they come by your way. A self-confessed devotee of British music, singer Murray Lightburn's delivery alternates between Messrs. Albarn and Morrisey, but stops short of sounding like a poor imitation of either one. Similarly, the album contains several songs that could easily be attributed to Blur ("Warm And Sunny Days") or Morrisey ("Don't Lose The Faith") or both (current single "Lost In The Plot"). Elsewhere, there are hints of Spiritualized ("We Can Have It"), Tindersticks ("Who Are You...?", "22"), and Virgin Suicides-era Air ("Never Destroy Us", "Postcard From Purgatory"). Although never quite capturing the raw charisma and musicianship of the live show, No Cities Left is wonderfully produced (think Love's Forever Changes) and musically bold, and is a must for anyone with a taste for symphonic rock/pop with a darker edge.
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Format: Audio CD
I first heard about The Dears towards the end of 2004, with many people complimenting the apparent references to British indie-acts like Blur and The Smiths. I must admit, these allusions threw me a little when I first heard the album in December, with such comparisons rarely stretching beyond the odd vocal flourish, or the occasional, literary, lyrical couplet, littered sporadically throughout the album... with the whole notion of a Blur meets the Smiths style Britpop record (as suggested by other critics) really seeming as forced and as churlish as those constant Interpol/Joy Division comparisons. Instead, The Dears possess a sound that is partly influenced by the sound of classic British 80's and 90's indie-pop groups... but with further references to more contemporary acts like The Killers, Bloc Party, etc.
As an album, No Cities Left has an epic, cinematic sound that is both sparse and desolate, but with a sense of prevailing hope to undercut the existing claustrophobia. There are acoustic guitars, pianos, organs and synths, all layered alongside a flourish of romantic strings and a pounding percussion that brings to mind the recording skills of Steve Albini... which creates a great sound that can go from ugly to beautiful (and sometimes back again!) all within a single moment. As a result, the musical arrangements practically soar in some places, particularly on the opening track We Can Have It, in which the great performance and arrangement of the band perfectly compliments the crooning, lovesick lyrics of lead-singer/producer/performer, Murray A. Lightburn.
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Format: Audio CD
The Smiths comparisons have left me mystified. The Dears No Cities Left is glossy symphonic pop, having more in common with bands like The Wondermints, Soundtrack of Our Lives or Death Cab for Cutie. The odd song does resonate with echoes of Morrissey/Marr, "Don't lose the faith" is very Smith like in its strum able verse and the occasional lyrical couplet brings to mind some of Morrissey's epigrams but that's about it. Maybe my middle aged mind is hazy ,but I don't recall The Smiths using choral vocal effects_"Expect the worst/Cos she's a Tourist"- wheezing sax solo's -"The Second Part" - or more synthesizers than you'd find at a Human League garage sale -just about every song.
Putting that aside, this is a hugely entertaining and enjoyable album. The quality of the song writing is superb as is the production and the densely layered arrangements, all the work of lead singer Murray A Lightburn. There's traces of old time swing in the brass on "Expect the worst/Cos she's a Tourist". The magnificent "Lost in the Plot" sees him really flex his vocal chords and has a gleaming punkish edge. "Pinned together, Falling Apart" has a flourishing orchestral glow reminiscent of the Tindersticks. "Never destroy us" pirouettes round a giddy jazz melody that wouldn't sound out of place on a Zappa track. First track "We can have it" builds and builds like cross between Abba and God Speed you Black Emperor while "Who are you, Defenders of the Universe" has tangled thickets of guitars that never overwhelm the songs melodic verve. "Postcard from Purgatory" centres on a dubbed up bass line before exploding like Jethro Tull mixed up with Megadeth. Conventional it aint. "Warm and Sunny Days" is an aptly named glowing mellifluous pop nugget.
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