Review by Dom Vigil
The somewhat jazzy, indie rock sound that Dear Me, have delivered on their new album, Present Perfect is incredibly uplifting and warm, arriving just in time for lazy summer afternoons. Making these nine songs even better are the blunt and transparent lyrics that come along with them, though. With these songs, Dear Me, weave stories and immerse you in their world with ease, getting a little personal and vulnerable along the way.
The storytelling in the bright and crisp opening track, “Be Who We Need To Be” is a huge driving force behind the song and, as it turns out, the album as a whole. The vocals are the forefront of this first track, spearheading things with beautiful harmonies and an overall very clean sound, and lyrically, things are very upbeat and hopeful, setting the perfect mood for these nine songs.
Where “Be Who We Need To Be” is very bright and hopeful, the following “This is Love” is a little darker and feels a bit heartbroken. This second song takes a step away from the opener’s mood, but sonically, things flow with ease. Swapping with the vocals, the guitar and drums take the lead on this song, with soft vocal harmonies backing things up, showcasing the band’s versatility right off the bat and just going to show that they don’t rely on just one instrument or one voice to drive their sound, but instead, the whole band works together in unison.
Third song, “The News” is a bit mellow, but don’t let it lose you, because the following track, “Anything at All” is simply Dear Me, at their best. Musically, this song is upbeat, catchy and warm and lyrically, it’s emotional and introspective - the merging of the two makes for a perfectly well-rounded sound. As the band has already showcased by this point, no one instrument takes the lead on this song. Instead, it’s very balanced, and like “Be Who We Need To Be,” this track has a very hopeful tone to it, especially in lines such as “Have faith/You gotta keep your head straight/Hold on/Thank me when it’s all done.”
Then, keeping you on your toes is “Dying is Overdone,” the polar opposite of “Anything at All.” Thematically, this song touches on thoughts of suicide and feelings of hopelessness and mediocracy, which will certainly resonate with listeners, especially alongside such a hopeful song like “Anything at All.” The only complaint I have about this song is in the guitar tone throughout the verses, which doesn’t feel cohesive with the songs that come before it.
By this point in the album, you’ll likely feel like you practically know the band. With each song, Dear Me, seem to open up more and more, and if you still need to know a little bit more about them, skip forward to the second to last (and incredibly relevant) song, “Pushing Pills.” The first line will certainly get your attention, and the rest of the track will tell a story that many are familiar with - the argument of what’s wrong and what’s right, taking sides even when you’re not fully educated on something. Final track, “The Divide” follows suit, discussing how not seeing eye to eye can divide people.
As a whole, Present Perfect is an incredibly cathartic and powerful release. Lyrically and emotionally, the band really opens up on these songs, making for a very human and relatable album, and musically, things feel very well rounded and balanced. Thanks to their solid sound and strong songwriting, Dear Me, can focus on telling stories with these songs, which they definitely excel at. Present Perfect couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.
LISTEN TO: "Anything at All"
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