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The Dears: Comforting and Groundbreaking

The Dears.
The Dears.

The Dears' members, led by singer Murray Lightburn, have been through many different lineups since the indie-pop group formed in 1995. Their debut album, End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story, was released in 2000, but music fans didn't discover them for a while — it took constant touring and the release of their 2003 breakthrough, No Cities Left, for the band to garner recognition at Canada's Juno Awards (for Best New Group, of all things) in 2004. Their latest album, Gang of Losers, was released this month.

The Dears' distinct brand of rock is both comforting and groundbreaking, with a whimsical streak, a many-layered sound and often profound meaning: In the title track on No Cities Left, an upbeat tempo is paired with ethereal vocals and the apocalyptic lyrics, "Let's just keep fighting / the end of the world."

In this interview, Lightburn, the one constant member of The Dears, discusses criticisms of his group, including the heavy nature of some of its lyrics and its seriousness on stage. He relives memories of growing up in Canada, including his relationship with his parents, who became born-again Christians when he was a child. He also relates the effect that having his own child has had (and not had) on his music.

Copyright 2006 XPN

David Dye is a longtime Philadelphia radio personality whose music enthusiasm has captivated listeners of World Cafe® since 1991. World Cafe is produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania.