THE DEARS Nor The Dahlias: The Dears 1995-1998 (Grenadine) Rating: NN
Tawdry compilations of a band's earliest ghetto-blaster moments are nothing new, but usually they come when the band is either massive or long-dead, not when the group is just reaching its stride. As singer Murray Lightburn rightly points out in his disgusted "we didn't want this to come out" introduction, these recordings have little to do with the current Montreal art pop ensemble, with only the name and Lightburn himself remaining. These 10 competent but derivative songs capture a band of Smiths-obsessed musicians who discovered Blur somewhere around 1997 and occasionally sung in a faux English accent. The only hint of the Dears' now-polished high drama is in the story of band disintegration detailed in Lightburn's caustic liner notes. The Dears host the Horseshoe Saturday (December 8).