I’ve long contended that orchestral pop/rock collective The Dears are every bit as talented (if nowhere near as acclaimed) as fellow Montreal outfit Arcade Fire. Their 2011 gem “Degeneration Street” capped a string of three near-perfect albums (along with 2006’s “Gang of Losers” and 2008’s “Missiles”) and I felt The Dears were finally on the verge of mainstream success in America.
Just when things seemed to be taking off, however, The Dears went silent. Charismatic frontman Murray Lightburn released a solo record (2013’s “MASS:LIGHT”) but it took four long years for the band to follow up “Degeneration Street.” Newest platter “Times Infinity Volume One” marks a welcome return for The Dears and though it might be a notch below its predecessor, it’s still better than 90 percent of the records being released these days.
By the midpoint of opener “We Lost Everything” it’s clear that The Dears haven’t lost a step and the band continues to impress throughout the 10-track, 38-minute album. Additional highlights include “I Used to Pray for the Heavens to Fall,” “You Can’t Get Born Again,” “Here’s to the Death of All the Romance,” “Someday All This Will Be Yours” and “Hell Hath Frozen in Your Eyes.” Welcome back. (Jeffrey Sisk)