When you find out that Dearly Beloved is made up out of Eagles Of Death Metal, Sound City Players and Broken Social Scene, their recent album release, Enduro, suddenly makes a lot of sense. While it’s all rock, it’s got a lot of subtler, smarter influences thrown into the mix too and though it doesn’t always hit the mark it’s got a lot more positives to keep things rolling.
Apparently the band’s music is often compared to either The Pixies, X or The Ramones, but if we’re honest, there’s probably more comparisons with Them Crooked Vultures, Wooden Shjips or Pink Floyd depending on which song your listening to on the album. That’s not to say that it sounds like a hotch-potch of different sounds and styles all thrown together randomly, it’s just that it undulates purposefully from one stand point to another in terms of influences as it goes.
Things start off with a Pink Floyd-like intro in All Sins Are Forgiven, setting in the psych influences right from the get go. However, it’s the calm before the storm as is gets into the grip of the rock heart that it is once you get to the chunk of the chorus, with its chainsaw guitar and relentless reiteration. It also acts as the welcome party to the dual vocal interaction of Rob Higgins and Niva Chow, which works very well.
The psych rock leviathan continues in the slightly freaky Astor DuPont Payne, which seems to be a reference to the Illuminati in some way or another if our “poor man’s” online research is anything to go by. While we’re clearly a bit in the dark about what it’s about, it’s a track that we can’t help but like, especially the late-in-the-day segue just before the end, which changes things up nicely.
Between Finger & Thumb is much less noteworthy to begin with, but the rolling drums halfway through set things in motion for an abstract ending that sort of revives the track. It’s followed up by the rock strut of the title track, Enduro, which is hard not to like within the shimmering jacket of crunched guitar and addictive vocals.
Things take a turn for the more abstract and slow paced in Ether Binge, which is about as evocative of its namesake as it could be, and it makes a good interlude of mind-bending self reflection. This is soon replaced by a return to pace in the brilliantly titled, The Guile Of Prick, which has a cool duet construct that’s like a harder equivalent of what The Kills did on Midnight Boom.
Not My Pig is a little slower, a little darker, with an element of the grotesque about it that makes for interesting listening. It’s underpinned by a rhythmic bass riff that’s covered in a combination of noise rock, guitar flash and more strong duet interplay from Higgins and Chow.
One of the best songs on the album is Olympics Of No Regard, which is somewhere between Wooden Shjips and Deep Valley’s Sistrionix. It starts out with military drums and a heap load of crazy before getting up to full steam to deliver the kind of blues rock brilliance that Black Keys have been delivering for years.
It all gets very “ROCK” on Run For Your Life, but it’s sort of infectious too, as it’s refreshing to find so much action as the back end of an album. There’s nothing subtle or clever about the way that it starts, and we can’t say that it gets any less sledge hammer-like as the clock ticks on, apart from the inclusion of a little tambourine, but it’s a cheap stomp to go out hard on.
The final track, on the other hand is a long way from the best of Enduro, with none of the saving graces of Run For Your Life. However, it does confirm that on the whole there may be a few minor negatives on the album, but all told it’s a smart beast of a record.
Dearly Beloved, Enduro album review: 4/5