DEARLY BELOVED – Enduro

Did you see Dearly Beloved tearing round Blighty with Swervedriver the other month? No? Then you missed a pretty brisk support act so it’s only right that we spread the love and support the support with a few words about their 2014 rekkid, Enduro. Since snapping it up at the Oxford show (sold by singer Niva Chow, no less) it’s become a real Fast-Gro listen this past month: ten-tracks jammed with snagging hooks, propulsive bass and boy-girl vocal swaps that steer the Canadian four piece well clear of all-guy r.o.c.k. stereotypes.

Back at the Oxford O2 – the gig with zero audience participation, remember? – it was the bass that nicked your first impressions, mostly because singer/four-stringer Rob Higgins wasn’t shy of actually playing the fucker and giving it some action, not just in a rhythm sense but in that bass-as-guitar kinda way as well, stoking up a thickened fuzzbed for the rest of the Dearlys to play off … feel the warmth. And when you find that the Enduro album was put together en Mojave in Rancha de la Luna – studio home to Kyuss, Desert Sessions, Masters of Reality and the just-returned Goatsnake ffs, to name just four – with Dave Earthlings? Catching at the helm then you start to join some dots. Perhaps there really is a bit of Joshua Tree dust trapped in DB’s attack? Seeing the boho-intense set-up at Rancha in the Los Angeles episode of Dave Grohl’s fckn brilliant Sonic Highways series, it looks impossible NOT to be infiltrated by the environment, and our very own Sheffield Monkeys are proof of that. Got the arctic stripped right off ’em.

But despite all this desert talk, Dearly Beloved aren’t stoner behe-moths hanging round a night light on a never-ending jam to infinity. They’re sharp, lean and schooled in the 3-minute arts, and first track Enduro fairly flies off the bat with White Denim hyper-ness and a rubber riff rebound. Buried somewhere in this kickstarter is one of THE names in the whole of desert rock-dom – yes, reality’s master hisself, Chris Goss – but to be honest, you can’t really hear him. Maybe a tiny bit.

(you can’t)

Still, his very presence is a pointer to the Enduraesthetic because although Dearly Beloved are punk energy – think Pulled Apart By Horses without the screamo – they weave in some Goss-like space and sensibility too, as on Astor Dupont Payne and the gently reflective Ether Binge. At the other end of the Enduro scale is a full burn Guile of Pricks (great title) and the twisting Not My Pig, a dirt-low filth riff punctured by space, bass and Niva’s detached vocal cool. Album highlight right there.

At 28 minutes end to end it’s a short set, but it ain’t short of adventure – stick it on and get a feelgood hit for the summer. Check ’em out right here.

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