The Dears / Young Galaxy
The Independent
December 1, 2006

Review by Jake Thomas

Sometimes you just get that itch to go to a show, and it doesn’t really matter who is playing. Sure, you use your discretion and try to pick something that sounds decent, but in the end it can still be a gamble. This was the case for this evening at the Independent – a couple of bands I knew next to nothing about, but high hopes for good times.

Despite arriving much later than the scheduled start time (Jay’s Cheesesteak had called my name), I still managed to see the opener in their entirety. They were called Young Galaxy and were from Canada – Montreal specifically. But based on their sound and the fact that they had six members on stage, it’s almost as if I could have just guessed they were Canadian. According to the band this was only their third show playing together, but you never would have guessed that after hearing how well they played together. They definitely had that Canada-rock sound that is so popular with the kids these days, particularly reminding me of Stars – turns out one of the main members was/is in that band (according to my meager web search before writing this the band is duo - the two lead singers - and the others were just helping out live). I also got a heavy Pretenders vibe, possibly because the female half of the singers was channeling Chrissy Hynde’s voice on a couple of tracks. All told they were pretty good, and real damn good if you factor in that they had been together such a short amount of time. Apparently they will have an album coming out on Arts & Crafts in the near future and I look forward to hearing how they come off in a canned setting.

The Dears…oh dear, did I misjudge this band. Or did I? I would swear all of the songs I’d heard from this band before were firmly entrenched in the “pop” category. But live – this was a rock band through and through. It was like someone threw Muse and Mew and “Bends” era Radiohead in a blender, combined it with a seizure-inducing light show, and presented it as The Dears. It wasn’t bad – quite good actually, but I think I was so thrown off by what I was expecting out of the show that I was never able to fully get into it. One thing is for certain though – singer Murray Lightburn has a friggin’ fantastic voice. Now this show has made me even more confused and curious about The Dears, and why the few selections I have heard from the band sounded so different than the live outing. Sounds like it’s time for a trip to the record store…