Times Square Discount is, as vocalist/bass god Rob Higgins puts it, "a rabbit-hole record," and one partially borne of "bingeing on Kubrick and drugs" and ruminating upon such fancies as "How do we make Kubrick an album?" and "How do you make an album version of The Shining?" in the van long enough for it to set in that the band's thirst for weird and/or forbidden knowledge and capacity for conducting on-site empirical research could be put to far better use in each of the cities that it visits than simply, y'know, bingeing on Kubrick and drugs in a van. The result is an LP that has yielded some of the most pop-savvy material yet to appear in the Dearly Beloved canon. "Vacation" and "LSD" have an undeniably slinky, stick-in-your-head seductiveness about them, "Close Encounters" and "Dog Food Thumbs" a decidedly sing-song quality lurking amidst the battery. Meanwhile, opener "Race to the Bottom" - inspired by Higgins and Chow's shared experiences working in their immigrant grandparents' small businesses as teenagers and the realization that such a from-the-ground-up fresh start is all but denied to any newcomer landing in modern-day Toronto - is an anthemic salute to "the mom-and-pop shops and the grandparents, parents, kids, aunts, uncles and family friends that ran and run them." Some of Dearly Beloved's newly honed pop smarts might be traceable to Higgins's recent gig as a songwriter-for-hire in LA, which has drawn such friends and collaborators as Dimitri Coats of Burning Brides and OFF!, James Di Salvio of Bran Van 3000, M83 conscript Jordan Lawlor and keyboardist Tyler Beans into the DB fold alongside drummer Aaron Morrice. Guest musicians aside, this record is still very much borne of Higgins's writing, and nothing will change in the feet-on-ground, rubber-to-the-road sense of Dearly Beloved's existence anytime soon. The band will continue to tour at a masochistic pace, vows Higgins, "because we have to, in some kind of fucked-up way."