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The Dears

The Dears - Protest EP

Protest EP
Maple Music/Universal - 2004

Michael Panontin
A reissue of a 2002 tour-only EP, the Protest EP comes drenched in the Dears singular flair for the urgent, the dramatic, even the melodramatic. Recorded in the summer of 2001 - remember this is pre 9/11 - the Dears were no doubt channelling the momentous rage of raucous protests in Seattle and Quebec City, before two 747s pummelled the twin towers and, so we were reminded ad nauseum, "everything changed".

Well, not so fast Mr. Punditman. As I write this belated review, upwards of 100 civilians are being killed daily in Iraq, Afghan peace dangles precariously in the midst of a Taliban resurgence, and Israel has just wrapped up a "measured" week of collective punishment in Lebanon, with 300 or so graves to mark the success of what looks like 1982-redux. Indeed, the opening track's enthralling chorus of "Heaven, have mercy on us!" explodes in relevance, segueing deftly into 'Summer of Protest' which, though thoroughly derivative (managing to rip off the base riff from the Talking Heads' 'Psycho Killer' and the vocal from Joy Division's 'Heart and Soul') ratchets up the angry intensity. Finally, the more ethereal, and ultimately less satisfying, 'No Hope Before Destruction' completes the cycle here, mixing a sadly resigned piano motif with some trite distortion, thus rendering Murray Lightburn's usually robust vocals sluggish and ineffectual.

A tack-on remix of 'Summer of Protest' follows, but, alas, it founders in superfluous drivel.



     The Dears

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