Image by Richmond Lam
Following the turn of the Millennium, Montreal’s The Dears captured cool-kid hearts with a suave but iconoclastic sort of post-punk revivalism. They continue apace, but now singer Murray A. Lightburn has embarked on a little detour from the band for an eagerly anticipated solo album.
The second single from said album, “Changed My Ways” – which BlackBook premieres here – works an enigmatic but urbane little corner of inspiration, where, say, Burt Bacharach and Tindersticks intersect.
“I wrote this song on the piano,” he recalls, “that first melody you hear, doubled by the flute. The original demo was more muscular and I doubted it for awhile. So I zoomed back in to the original way I sang and played it on the piano, which became the guide. I wanted it to be gentle and fragile yet strong – a tough balance that kind of encapsulates the album and its theme.”
No surprise, as The Dears have always stood athwart any clichéd notions of musical machismo, Lightburn sees the tone, even the aesthetics of the song, as representing a distinctly evolved idea of manhood. Which, considering the current socio-ideological zeitgeist, is certainly welcome.
“I wanted this song and this album to convey my own version masculinity,” he explains, “but totally void of that bullshit. I wanted something that was strong and confident without backing down or [being] perceived as arrogant. That is really hard. And I don’t really see or hear a lot of that these days, especially from black men. In 2018, it’s not really pushed up front – so here I am, trying. Wish me luck.”
The new album, with the perhaps politely-requesting title Hear Me Out (we obviously recommend that you do), will be released February 22nd via Dangerbird Records.