Dearly Beloved: Enduro (Aporia Records)
CD / DL
Toronto’s Dearly Beloved get desert rock in their stoner hearts, with Eagles Of Death Metal and Kyuss vets on board for good measure. Joe Whyte reviews.
Since 2012’s Hawk vs Pigeon debut, Dearly Beloved (Rob Higgins and Niva Chow) have been on a marathon around the dive venues and motorway service stations of the globe, barely taking a day off in two years. The endless road appears to have driven the content of Enduro, which has plenty of the two lane blacktop, seedy motels and hard living done well in its grooves.
Recording the album in the infamous Rancho de la Luna studios in Joshua Tree, CA, they’ve enlisted some friends old and new to create this battle scarred epic. With no actual songs pre-written, Dearly Beloved have beavered away in a frenetic couple of weeks and the record positively shudders with the energy and gusto that so characterises the band.
The sound is breathless, bludgeoning riffs for the most part, with the duos vocals arching and craning over the top. Opener and title track Enduro is a frantic rush of feedback and pulsating drumming with a little hint of The Minutemen in Higgins’ fuzz bass runs. Breathy backing vocals sweeten the crushing chord changes and galloping snare rolls.
Olympics Of No Regard follows suit with virtuoso bass playing holding down the hot-wired guitars. “Reap what you sow” goes the mid song section which precedes more slightly funked-up, punked-down bass lunacy and some accelerating changes and mood shifts.
Astor Dupont Payne lightens the mood to a slight degree with a slower pace but with scorched earth guitars present and correct. Chow’s vocals are a lighter counterpoint to the blaze of the song. DB sound like a band who are fond of their mind altering chemicals and they mention that the acid test (no pun intended) of the album is whether it sounded good whilst listening at extreme volume whilst racing a car through the night time desert. I can’t confirm that, but it certainly sounds good in when stuck in traffic in Glasgow.
Ether Binge is probably something of a mission statement from the band. Closing the album, it’s ghostly crackle and weary vibe are at odds with the white knuckle assault of the rest of Enduro. It’s a fitting ending, almost a come down of sorts after the lunacy and sheer blitzkrieg of what precedes.
Dearly Beloved. Take them into your heart.
All words by Joe Whyte. More writing by Joe on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive.