Album: The Dears, Degeneration Street (Dangerbird)

There are moments on Degeneration Street that suggest Dears' creative mainspring Murray Lightburn is hoping to effect an Arcade Fire-style vault from indie saltmines to popularity; but it's all too little, and at five albums into their career, too late for that.

Their main problem is a glaring lack of distinguishing characteristics, compounded by a lack of decent material: at no point is the listener at all bothered about decoding Lightburn's opaque imagery, because the songs never demand you return to them, whether it's the jangle-pop of "Easy Suffering" or the bogus blue-eyed soul of "Omega Dog". Crucially, they never surmount their influences: "Thrones" is equal parts New Order and Pulp, "Yesteryear" a sub-Motown groove they forgot to develop into a song and "Galactic Tides" a sub-Radiohead neo-prog exercise.

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