On paper, there’s nothing new here. But all the great bands that are filtered through ‘Degeneration Street’ – post-‘Kid A’ Radiohead, TV on the Radio, late-period Blur, even bits of Muse – engender a familiarity around which The Dears build their own identity, and with that comes a warmth and soulfulness that so many modern rock records lack terribly. Indeed, listening to ‘Degeneration Street’ is a little like looking at a completed crossword: there’s no deciphering left to do, no challenge or puzzle, but quelling that frustration is an equal but different satisfaction derived from observing so clearly the craftsmanship and passion that has made something so perfectly complete. Indebted but never derivative, soulful, passionate and unique in its own combination of flavours, this is one of the most self-assured, fulfilling indie-rock records to be released in years.

By Sam Walton

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