Release Date: Oct 3, 2006
Record label: Arts & Crafts
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
The Dears' follow-up to 2003's No Cities Left sees the Canadian band once again pointing a Vaseline-smeared lens in the face of cynicism, but with more focus than their grandiose vision has allowed them before. They've cut back on the orchestration - swooping violins are scarce, though spacey keyboards still dart nimbly in and out of the rush of guitars - but remain knee deep in lush melodies, the songs much lighter than their Smiths-like titles imply. Ticket to Immortality sees singer Murray Lightburn cooing like a contemplative Damon Albarn and the ominous Death Or Life We Want You could be a choice track from Blur's album 13.
After the orchestral extravaganza of 2004's fantastic No Cities Left, the Dears didn't leave themselves much room on their next album to go even bigger, lusher, more orchestral. It would be too much, and they knew it, so instead they chose to strip down their arrangements, make them simpler and less ornate. This isn't to say that Gang of Losers is just Murray Lightburn playing an acoustic guitar and crooning forlornly, but it does mean that the Dears seem to have traded in their strings and horns for more straightforward electric guitar and keyboard riffs.
Out of nowhere, heavily orchestrated Montreal band led by married couple turns in a stunning album about isolation and loneliness. Hmm ... sounds strangely familiar. Yet as time ticks away for the Arcade Fire to follow up Funeral before the fickle indie rock public forgets all about them (two years and counting ...), the Dears and Gang of Losers will do quite nicely indeed.