Perhaps The Dears are poking a bit of fun at their somewhat uneven recent output and fitful history by titling their new record Degeneration Street. While any band would have a hard time replicating the soaring, majestic heights of No Cities Left, the Montreal sextet have soldiered on, to both good and bad effect, but on their expansive new record they truly sound reinvigorated and inspired. ‘Blood’ is perhaps one of the more abrasive cuts from the new album (not surprising, given the gory title), exploding with a dynamic guitar riff a half-minute in, coinciding fluidly with Murry Lightburn’s contrite admission that “we learned the hard way.”

But the track is in no way an abashed admission that mistakes were made, more like a determined statement that Lightburn and the gang are going to continue to play by their own rules no matter what the result. The volatile, warring nature of the world certainly informs the song as well, with aggressive statements about “bring ‘em to their knees, bring all their heads to me,” and having most of the subjects being soaked in blood by the end of the track. So it’s not a tranquil reintroduction to the band by any means, just a bold, straight ahead rock song from a group that seems determined to keep the music world’s attention focused back on them for the moment, while regaining a portion of the acclaim that was justly bestowed on them so early in their career.

The Dears: ‘Blood’