Degeneration Street

Click to Listen to The Dears' Degeneration Street

Dears leader Murray Lightburn has a dramatic streak wide as his Canadian homeland, and his group's fifth LP gives it plenty of elbow-room. A four-part song cycle involving apocalyptic prophecy and frozen hell, Degeneration Street often reads as art-rock with a death-metal storyline: With a few tempo changes, "Blood" could pass as a Mastodon cover. Yet musically, the LP is a shuffle mix: "Galactic Tides" is an End-time prayer done in Thom Yorke falsetto, "Yesteryear" a Motown strut with choir and harpsichord. Lightburn's amoebic tenor is still the main attraction: soul crooner one minute, punk shouter the next, he's a prime candidate for rock's next Broadway musical.

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