Dearly Beloved 
Walker Park 

Independent • 2023

Walker Park is a visceral, dark, and noisy journey that packs an explosive amount of variety in condensed form.

There’s something disappointing about Walker Park, the new noise rock record from Toronto’s Dearly Beloved. Now, you may be thinking the album itself is a letdown, a musical project that promised more than it could deliver. Fortunately, this is not the case. This is simply a clever rhetorical device that deceives the reader into thinking I didn’t like the album. If you are a member of Dearly Beloved reading this, sorry! I loved the album.

What’s disappointing about Walker Park is that I’m not listening to it live. As powerful as the noisy guitars, relentless drums, and stirring vocals sound, I know they would sound even better in a sweaty mid-sized venue packed with fans — speakers blaring, crowd moving, floor sticking. 

There’s a tactile element to this album. Some of the songs feel sharp to the touch, their jagged edges drawing blood upon contact. The title track, “Walker Park,”’ is undoubtedly the highlight of the ten-strong lineup. Dark and ominous, the song feels like a mix between early Queens of the Stone Age and Australian psychedelic noise rock. In contrast to its noise and dissonance, “Trees Dream Of You” delivers a frantic drum and bass intro punctuated with a catchy chorus and strained vocals.

“Explosions” features another earworm of a chorus, while “I Was Here” reinstates the opening track’s darker tone. This is Dearly Beloved at their best: grim and indignant. “Spectator Sports,” while less memorable, still shows off the band’s impressive technical chops. Following a string of six charged tracks, “Let’s Make This Easy” offers a reprieve in the form of a classic rock ballad accentuated by beautiful soaring guitar runs. “Late Great Lake Skate” is notable for its fantastic tonal shift. Dejected and downtrodden, the track gradually crescendos towards the light; vocals, guitar, and bass all rise in unison. The closing track, “It Would Be Thank You,” is relatively muted. No screaming solos, no pounding drum and bass dances. Yet it perfectly concludes Walker Park, evoking the image of a closing bar in the listener’s mind. Patrons streaming out into the cold of the night, the lights slowly being switched off, the sign out front flipping to CLOSED. “If there was one thing I could say or do / It would be thank you.” Likewise.

Leland Whitty