ALBUM: Dearly Beloved – ‘Times Square Discount’

Hailing from Toronto, CA – the Great White North – Dearly Beloved have made their welcome return with their sixth studio album, Times Square Discount; ten tracks of thunderous, anthemic rock and roll.

Dearly Beloved have been crafting weird, compelling melodies for over a decade  – from their 2006 debut You Are the Jaguar to 2016’s Admission. Times Square Discount is no different. Opening with lead single, ‘Race To The Bottom’, the hive mind of vocalist/bassist Rob Higgins and vocalist/percussionist Niva Chow collectively pay tribute to their grandmothers; immigrants to Canada that ran small businesses when Higgins and Chow were just teenagers.

Holding their middle fingers up, Higgins and Chow’s his and her vocals stress the importance of the passionate and dedicated labour force whose front lines are already being run off a cliff”, whilst melting your face off with their hook-laden alt-rock; the erosion of the immigrant dream told through distortion.

Both ‘Vacation’ and ‘LSD’ display Dearly Beloved’s pop sensibilities and experimental nature. Melding scuzzy, pounding bass guitar with sing-song quality vocals from “The Chairman Chow” herself. And before you know it, ‘Close Encounters’ and ‘The Conqueror’ have joined the creepshow with otherworldly riffs ripped straight out of a 1950s B movie.

‘Fuck The Banks’ is a pretty self explanatory track that leads to ‘New Versus’; an abrasive fusion of bass guitar and theremin soundscapes, complemented by soft, harmonised vocals, whereas ‘Dog Food Thumbs’ is propelled by raw energy and a pop aesthetic. And if you thought Times Square Discount couldn’t get any weirder, think again! Meet ‘Al P’, a professional panchinko player from Tokyo. His only form of communication? Catchphrases culled from Al Pacino movies.

Closing track, ‘Super Hero’ is experimental electro hip-hop featuring MC Maia; just one of the multiple collaborators featured on Times Square Discount; including  Dimitri Coats (OFF) who provides much of the guitar riffs, James Di Salvio (Bran Van 3000), Jordan Lawlor (M83), Wylie Hodgden (Chevy Metal) and Dave Catching (Eagles of Death Metal). 

By the conclusion of Times Square Discount, the loose conceptual framework has become obvious. This LP, as Higgins explains, is “a rabbit-hole record”, one that has collated experiences and knowledge Dearly Beloved have gained from the various cities they have visited through near-constant touring. “Like the way Kubrick made films… Gather shit, learn shit.”

Recorded at Dave Grohl’s Studio 606, Dave Catching’s Rancho De La Luna, and Dearly Beloved’s own home studio in Toronto, Times Square Discount is a wonderfully chaotically crafted record, tempered with love to create an impressive, cohesive whole. Just like Stanley Kubrick’s filmmaking process.

Times Square Discount is out 25th October via Future Shocks Records. Catch Dearly Beloved live on the rest of their UK tour with Sebadoh:

1st October – Bristol, @ Fleece
2nd October –
Birmingham, @ O2 Academy 2
3rd October –
Leeds, @ Brudenell
4th October –
Glasgow, @ Broadcast
5th October –
Manchester, @ O2 Academy 2

Ken Wynne
@Ken_Wynne

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