Typical, The Dears vanish for years then come back with two albums within months of each other. Though I surely won’t be the only reviewer using the London bus quip. I probably am one of the only ones who missed their recent UK tour due to a motorway closure!
The Dears are all about second chances, and as they are trying to reignite their career in the UK after a six-year break since 2011’s Degeneration Street, I shall get the opportunity to see them on tour later on in the year with even more new material to check out.
Founding members Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak described Times Infinity Volume Two as the darker half of the two albums. For example, there are tracks entitled Take It To The Grave, and I’m Sorry I Wish You Dead. Anyone expecting anything as solemn as Lou Reed’s Berlin will be mortally disappointed. It’s not a good idea to listen to this record while hiding under your bed covers in a daze of anxiety and doom. No, Times Infinity Volume Two has as much light and shade as one would expect from a Dears record.
Lighburn’s pop sensibilities are always bubbling underneath like on the previously mentioned I’m Sorry I Wish You Dead. The lyrics take a turn for the worse, but it meets a delightful melody to take you by the hand like most of the better Smith’s tracks; mournful words served upon the brightest lullaby can be breathtakingly powerful. Times Infinity Volume Two may lack a few of the powerful singles, but what they lack in commercial hits they gain on an album that flows throughout with quality and ideas. They have swapped the rock riffs from Degeneration Street for a far more laid back approach and allow space for the entire band to shine.
If they had taken the bold move to combine the best moments of each volume of Times Infinity, they would have made one of the finest albums of their career. Each of the volumes has enough decent songs to satisfy most listeners, but there are a few meandering moments that could have been edited away on just a single release. But, hey! It’s 2017 we can all now make our own version – like when I combined Radiohead’s Kid A and Amnesiac to make Kid Amnesiac which is one of their best albums… that never existed.