The Dears' No Cities Left is the greatest and grandest work from a band for whom "epic" seems too a cheap descriptor, the ultimate culmination of the band's unhinged onstage catharsis and studio sophistication. Yes, it's a record about darkness, but only as a precursor to brilliant flashes of light (see: the rousing jangle-pop of "Don't Lose the Faith," the lush, string-swathed funk of "Never Destroy Us," the title track's defiant symphonic send-off). And as if to reinforce the album's central theme of hope in the face of horror, the record's coolly dramatic first single, "Lost in the Plot" has been a staple on Canadian rock radio since its release in the spring.
The liner notes say 'Written, Produced and Directed by Murray A. Lightburn,' but this is not some soundtrack to an imaginary film. This is very real. In a modern world that's blurred into an endless series of zeroes and ones, NO CITIES LEFT reminds you that your soul is not a dollar sign, that passion should never succumb to process. This music will not be embraced by the faint of heart, the hopelessly cynical or the emotionally insecure. But then, they're the ones who need it the most.