Must Hear Music
Reviews Archives
Bargain Basement
Music DVD
Send Us Mail
Contact Us

The Dears
Gang Of Losers
Arts & Crafts

Montreal, Quebec's orchestral pop/rock sextet The Dears have returned with their third full length album Gang Of Losers after an unprecedented two year run on their second release No Cities Left, keynoting a tour that took them all around the globe and lasting from 2003 to mid-2005. When lead singer Murray Lightburn and keyboardist Natalia Yanchak were married in the summer of 2005, the promise of a new album was put on the horizon, keeping fans of Montreal's 6-piece music troupe waiting and wondering if The Dears would keep their melodic symphonic-rock sound when they returned. The time apart from touring proved to enrich the band's harmony and bring out an album with universal appeal that places orchestral pop/rock on the global music map, similar to Radiohead and Arcade Fire.

Still holding onto their indie rock roots, Gang Of Losers was released on Toronto, Canada's indie label Arts & Crafts. The shimmering melodic layers in their instrument parts on tracks like "Bandwagoneers" and "Death Or Life We Want You" give major rock artists something to learn about creating harmony and amassing flourishing textures without being overly excessive. The soft rock emissions on "Hate Then Love" have a Morrissey-loll in the nocturnal toned gages. "Whites Only Party" course wavelets of funk beats from bassist Martin Pellard and drummer George Donoso III through the chugging movements of guitarist Patrick Krief and the duel keyboards of Yanchak and Valerie Jodoin-Keaton. The deep toned vocals of Lightburn bring out a melodic level in his voice, which on previous albums purveyed a coarse texture in its timbers. Marriage and becoming a new father to his and Yanchak's daughter have effected him in a way that allows him to laminate his notes delivering them with a symphonic refinement. The vocals and music are no longer contrasting texturally but breathe at the same level.

The smokey vapors and piano tones on "Fear Made The World Go 'Round" are complemented by Lightburn's vocals which convey a Bowie-esque candor. The melodic transitions on "Ticket To Immortality" have a high level of concordance as the layers of instruments are finessed to make lavish passages and pockets of space that give the instrument segments breathing space. There is a level of sophistication in The Dears' songs which they have always strived for on their previous albums and have reached with these songs. The low toned keys of "I Feel Deep" maintain The Dears' penchant for exploring the dark side of human nature familiar to Leonard Cohen, but inflating a bit of optimism in the chord's aura. The curvatures of the vocals and music score display textures and motions that know when to breathe, when to join in the foliage, when to increase their volume, and when to deflate their flourishing.

The Dears' album Gang Of Losers is more than just an orchestral pop/rock album, it's an album for all occasions. Similar to Joy Division, The Dears' music is respected by artists of all genres. There is something for everyone in these tracks, forming harmony and allotting room to breathe. The Dears are presently on a worldwide tour. Will this one be another two year run like No Cities Left? Like the Doris Day song says, "Que sera, sera/ Whatever will be, will be."

-Susan Frances

Track Listing:
1. Sinthtro
2. Ticket To Immortality
3. Death Or Life We Want You
4. Hate Then Love
5. There Goes My Outfit
6. Bandwagoneers
7. Fear Made The World Go 'Round
8. You And I Are A Gang Of Lovers
9. Whites Only Party
10. Ballad Of Human Kindness
11. I Feel Deep
12. Find Our Way To Freedom

Check out more reviews

Talk Back
e-mail the chief

Like this article?
e-mail it to a friend!


Mike Doughty

none now

South By Southwest 2014
David DeVoe

South By Southwest 2013
David DeVoe

Red Hook Music Festival
George Dow

SXSW 2012
David DeVoe

Our Favorite Records 2011
Hybrid Staff

Rachel Fredrickson

Rachel Fredrickson

Warped Tour 2011
Rachel Fredrickson

Eddie Spaghetti
Melissa Skrbic-Huss

Murder By Death
Mike DeLeo

Mike Doughty
Boulder, CO

Denver, CO

Imagine Dragons
Denver, CO

Cambridge, MA

Young Magic
Denver, CO

Warped Tour 2012
Denver, CO

Denver, CO

Mike Doughty
Denver, CO

Kansas City, MO

Other Lives
Lawrence, KS

Los Campesinos
Boston, MA

The Civil Wars
Lawrence, KS

Ha Ha Tonka
Lawrence, KS

Lawrence, KS

hybridmagazine.com is updated daily except when it isn't.
New film reviews are posted every week like faulty clockwork.
Wanna write for hybrid? Send us an e-mail.
© 1996-2009 [noun] digital media. All rights reserved worldwide. All content on hybridmagazine.com and levelheadedmusic.com is the intellectual property of Hybrid Magazine and its respective creators. No part of hybridmagazine.com or levelheadedmusic.com may be reproduced in any format without expressed written permission. For complete masthead and physical mailing address, Click Here.