TRACK REVIEW: Dearly Beloved – I Tried to Leave



Dearly Beloved


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I Tried to Leave






I Tried to Leave is available at:


Rock ‘n’ Roll; Garage; Punk


Toronto, Canada


31st October, 2016

The album, Admission, is available via:


October 28th, 2016


THE thing about new British music is that it is all rather…

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nice and pleasant. There is a sense most of the new musicians around would buy you a tea and walk you around a garden centre for the afternoon. Perhaps that is unfair but there is that sense things are getting a little bit soft. I am always looking for someone/something that reaches down the trousers and does what it needs to do. Royal Blood are a duo who are teasing new music this year but you wonder just when that will arrive. I am getting of course, but what I wanted to do was discuss combinations of Garage, Punk and Rock; come back and look at Toronto as a place for music and those acts who favour immediacy over anything else. I will then have a look at Dave Grohl – the band recorded their album at his studio – and the equipment they used. Coming to that first point and it is something I have talked about quite a lot. In this country, I am struggling to think of too many artists who really bring the noise and something energetic, primal and raw. Sure, there are Hardcore bands and those who often have to toil underground – perhaps that is the most suitable place for their type of music. It would be nice to see someone in a position of authority – in the mainstream, maybe – that actually gets the point. I have raved a bit about Royal Blood and how their music sort of ‘crept up’ on me. Their eponymous debut was, at the time of its release, something that impressed me but never really captured by focus, long-term. Now, as the Brighton boys tempt new sounds, I find myself bonding with that album and seeing stuff I missed at first. Many assume heavy and instant music lacks nuance and is for those who prefer dispensability and a ‘quick fix’ over anything else. That is true of some music but not all. Royal Blood are not the only British act giving me something to be excited about this year.

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The Amazons have been tipped for big things this year and rightfully so: their songs have that crowd-unifying essence with heavy riffs and incredible vocals to match. They missed out, rather unfairly, on BBC’s shortlist for 2017 success – the organisation favouring Urban acts this year. To my mind, there are very few other acts around that provide that essential, solid Rock/Grunge/Punk combination. There was a time when Britain was the doyenne of the heavy-music scene. Now, it appears that title has very much gone the way of North America. Not to labour the point, but festival seasons is just around the corner and there are few new bands filling the bigger stages. Maybe this is just a point of experience – they will get there in a few years – but I think there is something else at play: not enough good mainstream example; radio stations not doing their part. It is down to the likes of BBC Radio 6 Music and ‘specialist’ Rock stations – those who specialise in that genre – left to carry the torch when it comes to promoting the best grizzled, sweaty artists about. Maybe it is just the time we are in and a particular phase. The U.K. provided the world artists like Sex Pistols and The Clash: we stormed it in the 1990s and were pretty handy up until a decade-or-so-ago. Then, music sort of turned outwards and evolved: there was less reliance and proffering of Punk, Grunge and Rock artists. I feel we need more of the but the question looms: where does one find them? I know I am speaking rather broadly when I write-off the entire music scene here; I know there are many great unsigned artists who threaten the big leagues and can change things very soon. Until such time, we look around and yearn for artists that give music a right kicking: a bull out the gate with their testicles caught in the farm gate (an eye-watering image and contradiction I guess). What I mean is; we require an energetic and spirited band to help welcome in impending spring.

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Toronto is somewhere I am coming back to more regularly at the moment. There was a time I was getting Canadian requests every day – my inbox filled with review demands from Canadian P.R. companies; all the acts more-or-less the same sort of sound/dynamic. There was a bit of a strange gap – mainly because I told them to give me some breathing room and go away – but now they are back. It is good because Toronto is an area that should not be overlooked. When interviewing Bree Taylor and others, they always say the same thing: the international media overlooks Toronto and the fantastic music scene there is at the moment. In fact, Toronto has been providing incredibly varied and strong music for many years now. I have gone into this before – and shall not stretch it too much; need to mention some great Toronto bands – but it seems like the U.S. is partly responsible. As Donald Trump begins to build his wall around Mexico – or the border between Mexico and the U.S. – it seems like the national media is building a wall around Canadian music. There has always been that rivalry and cruelty from the U.S. – never taking Canada to heart or treating them seriously. Maybe it is a thing of tradition but there is that bullying attitude and condescending manner: Canada having to fight alone and not gaining the respect of their neighbours. Canada has a great music press, especially online, but America is where all the huge publications and papers are based. How many of them take the time to promulgate an area like Toronto and their fantastic musicians? Maybe I am missing something but they are a bit shoddy and ignorant with regards the Canadian music scene. If you do your own research, and one often has to, there is a wealth of treats and treasures in Toronto. One of the main assets of the city is the Rock and Punk bands who we desperately need in the U.K. I have reviewed many before – their names allude me – and always left with a bit of a smile on the face. If one looks at the established Toronto acts you will find names like Crystal Castles, Dilly Dally and Rush: not bands that sit quietly and wait to be seated.

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Austra and The Wooden Sky prove there is plenty of diversity (and other genres) in the city but it is those tougher bands that really get to me. Away from those underground-underground acts – those that are very localised and not known to a majority of the Toronto people – you have The Beach Bats and The Danger Bees – two animal/insect-based bands that are local heroes and have the opportunity to do great things in the future. If you focus the microscope; there are a number of artists that look set to do good things in 2017. Thanks again to blogTo – a publication I am employing again and their savvy ears – and their tips for Torontonian music this year. New Fries are primed for big things are already gained the attention of the local media. The band have that frenetic and frantic energy that blends odd, quirky lyrics (“Gertrude Stein greeting card from Pape/Danforth” is a name-checking example) and elastic compositions. There are odd songs and instant jams: a band that gets down to business and gets the mosh-pits jumping. Not all Toronto newcomers are sweat-inducing and savage. Conversely, Luka is minimal and backed with slight strings, compositional notes and soothing, female backing singers. Mazola, also, have that softer approach and a sense of sooth and colour: they do have Garage touches but not quite as energetic and hard-slamming as some artists around the city. Sure, Toronto has a varied and multi-genre scene but it is those acts inspired by citymates F*cked Up and Death from Above 1979 that are causing the biggest waves. It is something I will explore in future reviews but it is worth doing more research into the Toronto music scene and what is out there. I have mentioned how there is variation (like any city) but it is that Garage scene that really fascinates me. In Britain, London especially, there are fewer great Garage/Rock bands that really speak to me – there is a sparsity further north. Maybe there will be a time when the U.K. catches up with cities like Toronto (Melbourne too) but that might be a while.

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This brings me to Dearly Beloved and what they are doing: a fierce and fiery unit that deserve some serious respect. Before I come down to their music; I wanted to introduce the guys to you:

The main thing you need to know about Dearly Beloved is that you’ll hear them coming: they generate a furious sonic rumble that resonates from deep inside themselves, shaking the foundations of all you hold dear, and it’s one of the loudest sounds you’ll ever hear. But for the more curious among you, some facts: Rob Higgins plays bass. Jagged, roaring, deafening, feel-it-in-your-chest-cavity-or-I’m-having-a-heart-attack bass. He sings and writes songs too. Co-vocalist Niva Chow wails, mesmerizes and hypnotizes like a banshee. Together, they thrash and howl and harmonize and bring equsl parts melodiousness and dissonance to spin tales of defiance and exploration while maintaining a sense of humor and fun in the face of hard times and modern absurdity. They tour constantly, in their native Canada, in the UK, all over Europe. Fully-fledged keepers of the rock n’roll flame, but with the speed and primal energy of hardcore punks like Fear and Black Flag mixed with the brooding ‘eaviosity of Sabbath and the his/her vocal interplay of The Pixies. For their past releases (the band has been – ahem – “putting out” since ’06), it’s been all about immediacy, intensity, capturing the moment as it happens. This time around, for the imminently forthcoming Admissiion, a slightly different approach… The first “first” of note: working with a producer. Daniel Rey (Ramones, Misfits) is the first studio maven the band has entrusted to sit behind the control board, and hs techniques were strenuos even for a notoriously hard-working band. “We played fifteen of the songs we’d written for the album live in a small, sweaty rehearsal space in East LA. Eight hours a day, every day, for a week for Daniel” recalls Higgins. “The twelve tunes that were still standing after that, got recorded. In 14 days. (Recorded at Dave Grohl’s Studio 606, on, you guessed it: the famed, custom built, ’70s-era Neve 8028 analog console that gave us Nevermind and more than a hundred certified gold and platinum rock records.) Luckily, another first for “the Beloveds” this time around was the fact that at least some of the songs were already road-tested, and had been forged-if not born-on tour. That could be why Admission, multi-layered as it is, might be the closest the band has come to capturing their relentless stage energy. So, still a sense of immediacy and intensity, but tempered with thoughtfulness, shrewd reflection, and, it must be said, maturity. The band’s sound and subject matter are as raucous and severe as they’ve ever been, but they’re clearing coming into their own, growing into the space they’ve carved out for themselves, expanding their dynamic range in every sense. Says Higgins: “Admission has plenty of darkness, and heartache, but there is also love and empathy. Dearly Beloved began as an outlet during some dark times that brought some close friends closer. We described our first album (You Are The Jaguar, 2006) as ‘chaos tempered with love and delivered with great fury.’ That still applies. Maybe now more than ever”.

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Dave Grohl is coming to the U.K. very soon as his band, Foo Fighters, are headlining Glastonbury. As much respect as I have for the bearded legend; it seems like a very easy and strange booking. Not only have the band headlined before – they seem like the go-to band and rather predictable – but they have not released new material for a couple of years or so. It has been a while since they produced anything sensational so their headline slot seems rather strange – there must be other acts better-suited to that billing? Away from that moan, it is worth applauding Grohl and his contribution to music. Dearly Beloved were afforded the opportunity to record their new album, Admission, at his Studio 666. Grohl is a bit of a missionary when it comes to assisting and educating the musicians of the world. Here, we hear stories of Grohl lending support, equipment and money to bands and those in need – one incident where he signed a petition/wrote a letter when a garage-based band were complained-at and forded to stop rehearsing. He is a man who always looks out for others and has his heart on sleeve. What I love about Dave Grohl is his drumming pedigree and legacy in music. Not only is he, in my view, the greatest-living drummer but someone who still has that power, potency and passion. There are few that can match Grohl in terms of technique and sheer power. What I love about him is the fact he sort of pops up here and there: part of Them Crooked Vultures (where did they get to?!) and fronting Foo Fighters. I hope he returns to drumming and keeps that up because he is the best we have an inspirational to many. His studio setting, where some fantastic music was created, is a perfect gift to a young act that needed that appropriate setting and atmosphere. Recording on ‘70s-era Nerve 8028 analogue console – the same one that gave us Nevermind – one gets that grungy, 1990s’ sound the guys have produced.

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The entire recording process was completed in a super-quick fourteen-day period and captures their live sound. Dearly Beloved have a lot of love and intelligence but balance that with a healthy dose of energy and swagger. I hope the guys keep on producing albums because as Admission shows, they are one of the most promising and compelling around. I wonder how much of an influence Dave Grohl is to the Canadian act: they seem to vibe from his sound and talent; the same kind of Nirvana-like sound of 1991 – that exciting and stripped-back music we need to see more of. With Daniel Rey helming the album’s creation; the brand-new Dearly Beloved album is as live-sounding and instant as any you will hear. I keep mentioning the word ‘instant’ but that is what you get: music that gets straight into the brain and elicits immediate response. Before I move on – and come to look at the old and new music from Dearly Beloved – I wanted to quickly take a gander at older equipment and how important that is. What Dearly Beloved do is forsake modern luxuries and produce music authentic and classic. You do not get a polished and glossy sound across their album: it is dirty and physical for sure. Again, this is something we do not hear a lot of in the U.K. Maybe some of the underground guys favour that D.I.Y./sparse production sound but there is that tendency to race into the studio and get something ‘professional’ and clean on tape.

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I would like to see a piece of kit like the Nerve 8028 making more of an appearance as it lends a really interesting sound to music. You get that live sound and the impression you are right in the studio. It takes away any sense there are expensive gadgets and processes being employed but has that professional sound to it. I hear some acts who record using four-tracks and more basic equipment but it is something that is going out of favour a bit. The D.I.Y. route is something we cannot ignore as music-making becomes more expensive and less accessible. Studio prices are pretty high and we have the devices at our hands to record on a budget. The rise and popularisation of iPhone and electronic recording devices means you can have a studio in your hand. Doing that does not betray music and mean you are being dishonest – taking the easy way round and being quite fake. Dearly Beloved probably don’t have a huge budget so it is only right they are given the chance to record at a studio space like Studio 666 – unless Grohl demands extraordinarily high fees! I shall move on but wanted to congratulate Dearly Beloved on taking a great approach to music. They are not one of those acts that race to the expensive studios: they know their sound requires something bare and ‘older’. The 1970s recording equipment gives them a lovely, undercooked vibe that will inspire other bands to follow in their footsteps. It is hardly surprising when you consider Toronto music and what is going on right now. I think the guys have a big future and are on a really great path right now. Admission is a fantastic album that shows they are one of the most promising and exhilarating young acts around right now.

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Admission came out October last year and is not the first thing from the duo. ENDUO was released in 2014 and consists Olympics of No Regard. That song starts with snarling and animal-like guitars and sharp percussion. To my ears, there is a whiff of Pixies and that vocal interplay. The song could easily sit on Doolittle or Surfer Rosa in terms of its D.N.A. and sound. It is a short and precise song that delivers what it needs to but leaves you wanting more. Who Wants to Know/Resolution was a limited edition seven-inch release that came out back in 2015 and mixed and recorded by the duo’s bassist/vocalist, Rob Higgins. What I notice, between those two offerings, is a similar love for Pixies and Grunge of the 1980s. There are shades of early-Nirvana and you get a sense of Bleach and Nevermind at times. It is fantastic hearing an act that can mix those bands together but come through with their own ideas. The Toronto duo is distinct and owes a debt to nobody. What you get, and what shines through, is that underfed and bare sound few modern artists are trying. It sounds like the material was recorded in a home studio or in the live arena. Because of that, the music is afforded that genuine touch and authenticity. Many artists who release material a couple of years from their debut work might evolve to the point where they have changed everything. I see a lot of bands/acts start promisingly but then alter their sound and become unrecognisable. Once they are provided a glimpse of a modern studio – or are influenced by new acts coming through – they tailor their sound to that end and lose what made them unique in the first place. It is sad to see but does happen with some great acts. Modern artists like The Wytches (Brighton-based band) started with an original rumble but seem to be copying other acts and trying to fit in with others too much. With Dearly Beloved, there is never a case they are adapting to modern times and selling-out at all. Admission is their first full-length and opportunity to spread their wings. Many similar artists might get nervous and struggle to keep loyal to the beginning but that is not the case here. Fans of the duo’s early work will find much to love but there is new confidence and inspiration across the album. It is a record that gets through with things very quickly and sounds like a single, explosive live performance. If you look for gloss and cinema in an album you might be disappointed but those who appreciate true musicianship and classic Garage sounds will be very pleased. I know the guys will continue to make music and hope they stick with the fantastic equipment and studio space they used for Admission.

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I Tried to Leave is the album’s third track (of ten) and keeps the kick and spirit going from opening, RIP. You get a scratchy riff and sense of build-up from the opening moments of the song. I hate to keep coming to the Nirvana well but one gets an instant rush of Nevermind and Bleach. As a fan of both albums; you hear bits of Drain You and the possibilities there – that same sort of introduction and melodic sensibility. Whilst the percussion doesn’t riffle as disarmingly as Breed and Smells Like Teen Spirit; there is a healthy smack that would have had Dave Grohl stroking his beard with approval. The 1970s’ equipment and Nevermind studio space means the duo vibe from that history and legendary aura and vibe that into their music. As the song is over with before the three-minute mark; one would be forgiven for going straight in with the vocal and getting down to it. Dearly Beloved take time to build the mood and not go straight for the obvious. Maybe the song looks at a relationship that needs to exist for the health of both parties. Because the vocal duties are shared throughout; one never knows who is to blame and which person is most affected. It is a clever tactic and one that means you always have two interpretations. Our hero/heroine tried to step away but the other, it seems, was a bit clingy or dependant. Maybe breaking up would be destructive and cause irreparable scars – it seems like there is a bit of a hostage situation unfolding. Maybe I am wrong but there is that need to get away and move on but something that keeps bringing them back. As both provide vocals, and in turn, the story/lyrics; we must apportion blame and spotlight equally. It is hard to ignore the impending chorus which arrives like a storm.

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At the start, the introduction evokes memories of Nirvana and Pixies – keeping original skin and Dearly Beloved’s back catalogue – but, by the time the chorus looms in, your mind is taken in all sorts of directions. I have been entrenched in British Folk and L.A. Indie/Alternative for so long; have missed Canadian bravado and quality Garage. The chorus is that classical singalong jam: both vocalists together eliciting lashings of spirit, energy and addictiveness. You find yourself repeating it and singing along with the duo. It is a real blitz and firecracker that is never too heavy and raw but never descends into Pop territory. The instruments take a backseat as the voice takes centre stage. The chorus/song title is that key message and underlined in bold marker. Again, everyone will have their own views but I got an idea of two opposing lovers with different ideas about love. The song changes directions and dynamics so it always remains fresh and unexpected. After another blast of the chorus, there is a bit of a bass solo before the next chorus comes in. I love the interplay between players and the strength of the percussion: always slamming and pummelling whilst the guitars snarl and spit alongside it. I said Dave Grohl would approve of such sounds and you can detect a lovely little mix of his early Nirvana work and Foo Fighters. When the next chorus comes back in, one gets impressions the relationship is not going to get back onto solid ground. As is traditional with a lot of Punk songs; decipherability gets lost a bit so some of the lyrics do pass you by. Owing to the older recording equipment and vibrancy of the performance; that is a risk one takes but never dents the song’s strengths and quality. In fact, the emphasis is on the performance and overall sound. The duo proves how electric and solid they are: the song slams and rocks as hard as it would in any live setting.

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After the stunning, snake-like bass and determined percussion: it is that vocal dynamic that comes in and get the feet moving. I Tried to Leave is a song that gets the blood rushing and all the limbs engaged. I miss that kind of music and always long for something that digs deep and offers physicality and movement. The duo is not those who throw something simple together and hope that does the trick. There is emotion and heart underneath the bluster; plenty of nuance and little details. The sweethearts share laughs and baths but unable to extricate themselves from each other. You get a real vivid insight into domestic disharmony with humour and underlying tensions. The two are warring and have that passive-aggressive vein but seem to be unwilling to bend and submit. That idea of sharing baths and carrying on as normal adds the needed wit and observational reality to the song. There are no exaggerated fights and fictional ideas: Dearly Beloved paint a picture of a very real relationship that has seen better days but is carrying on regardless. I am not sure what has caused this tension and division but it is fun following the story. You get another explosive chorus – each time it comes in it picks up relevance and weight – but get a Psychedelic, drugged guitar snarl. It lurches and aches; it staggers and contorts to give the song another angle. The chorus and verses are quite linear and straight – they do not deviate and keep solid and level-headed. The little instrument solos take the track out in new directions and give new emotion to the foreground. Now, one hears that twisted gut and inner-turmoil being explored. It is a drugged and drunken swing that represents the lovers’ discontent. Niva Chow and Rob Higgins provide sensational vocals and driven by the urgent, tide-like basslines. As the song progresses, you get a splicing of Pixies and Nirvana. Higgins has that Krist Novoselic bass quality but has the guttural, commanding sound of Kurt Cobain. Chow reminds me of Kim Deal and has similar qualities in the voice. You almost get a bit of supergroup coming together with Dearly Beloved.

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By the last notes of I Tried to Leave, it seems hard to believe the song is over. You want it to keep going and hear that chorus keep coming back. As such, it is a song that demands repeated listens and yields something new every time. It is a song that perfectly defines the album and proves what a huge force the duo is. I keep coming back to the song and love its verve, rush and sides. You take a few times to get to the bottom of the story and will have different views and interpretations each time. I would love to see the song appear on BBC Radio 6 Music as feel it would be picked up by them. The guys would get a great reception in the U.K. and have a sound very few acts over her possess. I keep mentioning bands like Nirvana but meant as no slight. Dearly Beloved have that resonating sound of the Seattle legends but never replicate their music. They bring Pop, Psychedelia and Garage into Grunge and mix that with Punk. What you get is a bubbling and exciting blend of colours and sounds that will appeal to a massive audience. It is a tough and busy market out there but feel Dearly Beloved are a step ahead of most. I Tried to Leave is a brilliant song you will never grow tired of. It is one of the finest new tracks I have heard this year and means I will follow the two as much as possible. If the Canadian force keep things the way they are they are likely to ascend to the mainstream very soon – likely to get a lot of touring demands around the U.K., too. I cannot wait to see if the guys are playing here as it would be great to see them.

The Canadian Garage-Punk two-piece have been covered by everyone from NME, Alt Press and Noisey: they have garnered a large following in the local media and look set to make their way across the waters really soon. They keep Rock going strong with nods to legendary acts Black Flag, Black Sabbath and Pixies. The guys have that moody, brooding interplay and the vocal switches/blend of Pixies. You have that 1970s’ rage and hardcore lust of Punk and Garage but there’s a contemporary edge and relevance to their music. All these genres/acts/decades mixed together might seem haphazard and risky: the duo pull it off and have a real knowledge of what they are doing. You never get the idea Dearly Beloved are winging-it and chancers. I have a huge affection for 1990s’ Garage artists like The Von Bondies and The White Stripes and been looking for like-minded acts for a long time now. Of course, the Toronto duo sources their material from the blacker/harsher side of the spectrum but remind me of that classic wave of Garage music. Maybe there is more of a leaning towards Pop and Alternative sounds in this country but that, I hope, will change very soon. I have been listening to Admission – not enough time or hand strength to review the entire thing – but can attest to its majesty and dominance. It is a record that sounds like it was recorded in the live setting – laying down tapes and capturing it as it all comes together. In an age where gloss and polish threatens to ruin the honesty and soul of music: artists that take a reverse approach, and take it back to older times, are to be applauded. That is not to say Dearly Beloved are a vintage act that are out of touch and prefer music back then. Naturally, they have a great respect and affection for their local scene and the artists coming through right now.

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This is all fed into music that, once heard, is not forgotten in a hurry. You keep coming back to it and long to have that rush and kick: an affective and addictive set of songs that get the blood rushing for sure. Before I come back to my earlier points, I wanted to take a quick look at Dearly Beloved’s future and what they are doing this year. The duo have been touring Europe and taking in the sights and scenes of Germany and Spain. It is rare to hear a Canadian act get great gigs in Europe so early in their careers. Maybe I am being ignorant and naïve but feel Canadian artists struggle to get attention right from the off. The media are a bit reluctant, in the U.S., to expend energy promoting the musicians so how do you get your music heard that far afield? Social media and word-of-mouth has a lot to answer for an affective promotional tool for many artists. That is the case for Dearly Beloved who have a solid and growing fanbase backing them every step of the way. I cannot wait to hear the guys come to the U.K. and play their music here. I am not sure whether there are solid plans but one imagines it is only a matter of time before they come and play in Britain. I know there are many venues, pubs and clubs they could perform: so many different corners of London they could rock; a great wave of northern locales to put their music down. We, here, always look for tremendous Rock/Grunge/Punk bands so I hope Dearly Beloved have tour ambitions here. I know 2017 is going to be busy for the guys as they capitalise on the release of Admission. The album is getting a lot of love and those comparisons come in. Many are seeing shades of Nirvana in the music which is hardly a surprise.

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Under the tutelage and eyes of Dave Grohl – in that famed studio space – and using the same equipment that gave Nevermind its razorblade lust; of course there are going to be embers of the Grunge legends. You get, with the album, plenty of original identity and personality from Canadian musicians who mean serious business. They have grown up on some of the finest groups of all time and put that into their incredible songs. I Tried to Leave is a perfect example of what they are about and the components of Admission: it goes for the gut but has nuance and lingering impressions. When you see the duo on paper, you might assume they are going to be dispensable and a bit of a shallow charm. Maybe the music will whizz by and that will be that really. What you actually find is an act that evoke the memories of 1970s’ greats and Grunge legends but have the talent and stamina to go all the way in music. The praise they have accrued is no accident and that is the start of things. I would like to see U.S. tour dates come in for the duo: a chance for them to get into the big cities and prick the ears of the American music press. Perhaps they do have a big following there, me jumping to conclusions, but it is imperative the nation wakes up and recognises what they are all about. I am not sure whether Dearly Beloved have any festivals lined up or any new music scheduled for later in the year but I know they will continue to release music for many years to come.

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I’ll end this now and come to my earlier points. I think many overlook just what is happening in Toronto and the fantastic music being made there. I know Dearly Beloved have the support of the local media and social media but one wonders just how long they will have to play until U.S. media catches up with them. Maybe I am being harsh on America but know there is that grudge attitude towards Canada. You see it in sitcoms and on U.S. T.V. Canada is often the butt of jokes and ridiculed without any irony at all. For a nation whose leader is pushing everyone away and intent on destroying the free world: can America really stand up and criticise? In fact, the Canadian government is a lot more compassionate and sane than most in the world. They have the right attitude to immigration and gun violence; a lot more loving and sensible than the present American regime. I am not sure where that animosity/rivalry stems from. Why is it Canada is frequently belittled and patronised by the U.S.? Whatever it is, that seems to extend into the music media. Aside from a few American column inches; Dearly Beloved are getting more praise and focus from Europe that anywhere else it seems. The guys are with a British P.R. company and have just toured Europe. It is great they’re getting love over here but there is a huge market in the U.S. they deserve to carve-up. Aside from Seattle, New York and Washington D.C.; there are so many different areas the duo could play. Maybe those gigs will come in but I am pleased Dearly Beloved have that nod and support from Dave Grohl. Not only has the Nirvana legend lent him their studio space but, in doing so, shown he loves what they are doing. The studio space and 1970s’ recording equipment that makes Admission shine is the same that gave Nevermind its incredible sound. I’ll end this soon but am reluctant to cast all the blame on America – when it comes to publicity and promotion. I know Dearly Beloved will do great and have already crafted a large and dedicated following. As they become more confident and stronger, those big chances will come. I can see them, in addition to some of their local peers, being invited to our festivals and given the cobwebs a good blowing.

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This brings me to my last points about Toronto acts and the lack of Garage artists in Britain. Admission is an album I have not seen replicated by any artist (over here) this year. Maybe our music cultures are different but I’d like to think there is a comparable political dynamic that bleeds into music. Canada is a lot more open and loving than our government. The nation is friendlier and less crowded which is giving the musicians in Canada the confident, space and support they need to push boundaries and make all sorts of music. Here, it is busy, fraught and divided. As such, we are seeing fewer original and fascinating artists come to the mainstream and make it to our ears. I am not sure if there is a correlation between landscape and political climate when looking at music but there is logic there. If you live somewhere you feel happy and safe in; the music is going to be stronger and more dynamic. I get fed up with so many polished Pop stars and new bands who sound like everyone else. It has been a long while since I’ve got excited about a band. Maybe it is just my age and tastes but what are you going to do about it? As I said earlier; there are some great Garage acts in the underground but how much support will they get from the mainstream. There is a general fear, among brand-new acts, there is a certain sound favoured by the bigwigs and main radio stations. Largely, that tends to be a mix of Pop, Indie and commercial music. As such, we are finding it takes a lot longer for great, original artists to get their just rewards. That may be the reason why there are so few Dearly Beloved-like acts working in the U.K.

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I’ll take this down but implore everyone to investigate Dearly Beloved and throw some love to Toronto. We here are (thank God) not American and have a lot of respect for Canada. While we admire the dashing Justin Trudeau and his policies; the fact the country is (relatively safe) and loves its fellow man – how often do we get involved with the music of Canada? Sure, we all know the mainstream examples like Arcade Fire but not so much when it comes to underground acts. I guess our minds instantly stay in Britain and, if they go anywhere else, head to the U.S. We forget Canada is right next to them and deserves a lot of time. Ottawa is a wonderful music city, but for my money, Toronto is the leading city in Canada when it comes to world-class music. It is not just the Garage and Punk acts that excite me but the fantastic Pop/Electro. artists there. Ever since I reviewed Toronto Post-Punk group Terrorista; I have been fascinated by the musicians there. That band put together a split-cassette with another group (whose name alludes me) and each took a different approach. There were two songs but both bands featured on them. One group took lead vocals/composition whilst the other provided backing – vice versa in the other song. The fact they recorded on cassette and took that novel approach to music really impressed me. I have not seen that done here but that is what’s so great about Toronto. There are some terrific artists taking things back to better, simpler days but remaining very much in the present. Whilst cassette releases might not be feasible and possible now – the number of times you’d get it stuck in the tape machine; many do not have them anymore – it proves how innovative and retro. some of the artists are. Dearly Beloved love the studio sounds and equipment of the 1970s and the fantastic Punk bands that started at that time. There is that affection for Nirvana and that support from Dave Grohl. To get a nod and backing from a music legend this early proves how good Dearly Beloved are. The likes of Hormoans and Prince Innocence show the different sides of the city. The former is a Garage-Punk band who have been making strides since 2013 and continuing to grow larger and strong. They are indicative of the core of Punk/Garage artists putting Toronto on the map. The latter put synthetic Pop and Soul music together to create something alluring, dreamy and head-spinning. The boy-girl duo is ones to watch and show what a depth and range Toronto music has. Maybe Dave Grohl will come knocking for them but love the fact he has backed Dearly Beloved. Admission is an album that warrants that approval and benefits from that equiptment/studio space. I cannot wait to see how the Canadian duo do in future years and…

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WILL throw my support firmly behind them.


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