Dear Leader – Captured at the Paradise – Review

dearleader200Dear Leader

Captured at the Paradise March 5, 2005 (Instant Live)
By Scott Hefflon

The concept of Boston-based Instant Live has always interested me. Recording a show, and either getting a CD five minutes after the show or a voucher for the CD is kind of a revolution, ya know? The sound is great, cuz they know it matters. Most of the bands Instant Live have recorded are mainstream bands, like Counting Crowes, Allman Brothers, BoDeans, Kiss, Jewel, The Smithereens, and about 80 others. Dear Leader is kind of an odd place to start in the underground, but for underrated Boston rock that never caught on nationally like everyone who’s ever heard it thinks it shoulda, it makes sense. Dear Leader was the side project of singer Aaron Perrino of The Sheila Divine, until that band never got the attention they deserved and disbanded. Now Dear Leader is the main band, a cult fave in Boston, and you only have to hear one song and you’re hooked. A distinct voice and delivery, and solid rhythm sections that seem simple and backgroundy, until you realize you’re absolutely smitten, and therefore they did their job without having to be all showy about it. Hearing Aaron’s voice for the first time is like hearing Morrissey for the first time. No exaggeration. It’s sad, it’s beautiful, no overdubs or layered harmonies needed. The vocals sway almost lazily over well-written, reverb-drenched tunes, and it’s pure and glorious heartbreak. If at least one chorus or verse or bridge per song doesn’t create a lump in your throat, you have no heart. Let’s hope this CD gets the band their due. They could be as big as Doves, Idlewild, or Coldplay, no question about it.