Dearly Beloved
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Dearly Beloved

Band Alternative Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Album Review"

With their debut album, You Are the Jaguar, Canadian punk group Dearly Beloved—comprised of five musicians borrowed from several other bands—serves up ten songs that provide ideal examples of bombastic gaiety. Loud, fast and happy, every track screeches and wails a rebel sound that’s tempered by a cheerful and enthusiastic delivery by lead singer Rob Higgins. This odd mixture of happy-punk is pitch-perfect runs right through the album, but exhibits it’s potential in the first galloping song, “The Ride.”

A cutesy back-and-forth between male vocals and the female backup singers is used to establish a fresh, balanced fashion, but although it fits in with some of the rougher numbers like “The Ride,” gleeful stomp “Manifesto” and mellower soft-rock “The Butler Routine,” when wrongly used, it can make a song sound like a particularly spunky jingle for Old Navy (the ditty “Rugged Casual Sport” could sell many pairs of khakis).

Generally, though, there’s consistent sound and energy throughout the album that makes for some entertaining listening. While rock is oftentimes pigeonholed as an angry, dissatisfied medium, it’s a refreshing change to see that frenetic energy directed towards a more positive sound.
- Gateway Alberta


"You Are The Jaguar" (Kindling Music, 2006)


Feeling a bit camera shy


"I am dearly beloved, but so are you and we’re not alone – life – love – death is our story, ride to hell, ride to glory," sings Rob Higgins in Dearly Beloved’s first single "Manifesto." It’s a sentiment close to the front man, who lost his father to cancer during the writing and recording of the Toronto band’s debut album, You Are The Jaguar.

“The songs are certainly inspired by that experience,” says Rob. “It’s kind of hard for me to think of my last 18 months without thinking of what my dad went through because I spent almost every day with him in the hospital, watching him deteriorate. So every moment of every day was framed by that experience, and writing the songs for this record was just something that I needed to do to get through those days. The name of the band was inspired by those experiences, just trying to remind myself how much I was loved by everyone in my life and how fortunate I was.”

No doubt one of the most honest and heart-felt musical offerings Rob has ever made, the former member of seminal indie-rock band Change of Heart, who went on to start his own band Rocket Science and then Doctor with The Watchmen’s Daniel Greaves, recorded You Are The Jaguar with no set plan or vision. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I did know that I wanted to make a record and that I was writing songs based on what I was going through at the time,” he remembers telling his manager Jake Gold of The Management Trust.

Drawing from ‘70s U.K. punk to early ‘80s pop to Detroit rock ‘n’ roll, besides writing lyrics from a unique, personal perspective, he arrived at an equally fresh rock sound.

Joining Rob (lead singer and bass) are Niva Chow (vocalist) of Sticky Rice; Damon Richardson (guitar), formerly of Danko Jones; Alex O’Reilly (drums), ex of Doctor; and John Pogue (guitar). All have worked with each other in various other projects before joining Dearly Beloved. "There is an ambiguous identity at work here, both a solo artist and a band," states Rob.

The band’s debut, You Are the Jaguar, was written, produced and recorded by Rob at Toronto’s Orange Studios and in his home studio, Phoebe Street. "The prettiest sounding moments on the record are the darkest in terms of subject matter, and the most brutal and sonically punishing moments are actually the happiest. Simply put, it’s survival art, and it's fraught with all the inherent conflict and turmoil that comes with that,” he says citing "The Butler Routine," "Acquiesce (These Times Are Underrated)" and "Perils of Snap Decisions" as examples of such moments.

Rob, who is Geddy Lee’s nephew and grew up hanging with Rush in the studio, attending concerts and “analyzing their songwriting,” been playing drums and bass in different bands since his teens. One might think after years on the road, particularly with Change Of Heart, that he might not relish the thought of jumping in a van with Dearly Beloved, but he says the whole band is excited.

You Are the Jaguar is not a traditional solo album; it documents life experiences from the perspective of one man yet is buoyed by the generosity and love of close friends. That bond is evident when you see this group live and is also an essential ingredient in making Dearly Beloved stand out from the rest. As Higgins describes, "It's chaos tempered with love and delivered with great fury."