The Dears

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The Dears
The Dears at The Electric Ballrooms, Camden, London, UK. February 2005.
Background information
Origin Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Genres Indie rock
Years active 1995–present
Labels Grenadine, MapleMusic, Bella Union, Arts & Crafts, Dangerbird, Albert Records
Arts & Crafts México
Associated acts Thrush Hermit, Black Diamond Bay, Pony Up
Members Murray Lightburn
Natalia Yanchak
Patrick Krief
Rob Benvie
Roberto Arquilla
Jeff Luciani

The Dears are a Canadian indie rock band from Montreal, Quebec.


The band formed in 1995 and released their first album, End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story, in 2000. Their orchestral, dark pop sound and dramatic live shows cemented The Dears at the foundation of the then-emerging Canadian indie renaissance.[1] In 2001 and 2002, they released the EPs Orchestral Pop Noir Romantique and Protest, respectively, as well as a collection of unreleased songs, Nor the Dahlias. In 2003 they released their second full-length album No Cities Left, and a string of highly anticipated shows at SXSW '04 launched their international career.[2]

The Dears performing at Botanique in Brussels, 2006

The Dears toured extensively across Canada, USA, UK, Europe, Japan and Australia supporting the international release of No Cities Left and returned to the studio to record in 2005. Gang of Losers was released in 2006, and was well received by the press.[3]

The lineup of the band is fluid and has changed frequently, though the band's core members have remained founder and lead singer Murray Lightburn, and keyboardist Natalia Yanchak.

The Dears have had high-profile gigs as opening act for Sloan, The Tragically Hip, Keane, The Secret Machines and Morrissey, to whom Lightburn is often compared. Their music has been described as a cross between The Smiths and Serge Gainsbourg with Lightburn's singing voice being likened to Morrissey as well as Blur's Damon Albarn. The complexity of the music and arrangements has also been compared to Radiohead, Jethro Tull and early Genesis. The Dears' powerful live shows have been described as: "...the sonic equivalent of seeing the face of God."[4]

On July 10, 2007, The Dears' album Gang of Losers was named to the shortlist for the 2007 Polaris Music Prize. The follow-up Missiles was released in the United Kingdom on October 20 and in North America on October 21, 2008.

On February 15, 2011, The Dears released their fifth studio album, Degeneration Street. The album was named as a longlisted nominee for the 2011 Polaris Music Prize.[5]

Band members[edit]

Current members[edit]

  • Murray Lightburn (since 1995) - vocals, guitar, keyboards, percussion, bass
  • Natalia Yanchak (since 1998) - keyboards, vocals
  • Patrick Krief (2003–2008, since 2010) - guitar, vocals
  • Rob Benvie (2002–2003, since 2009) - guitar, keyboards, percussion, vocals
  • Roberto Arquilla (1997–2000, since 2010) - bass
  • Jeff Luciani (since 2010) - drums

Past members[edit]

  • Laura Wills (2008–2009) - touring keyboards, vocals
  • Christopher McCarron (2008–2009) - touring guitar player
  • Jason Kent (2008–2009) - touring guitar, vocals, keyboards
  • Yann Geoffroy (2008–2009) - touring drummer, keyboards
  • Lisa Smith (2008–2009) - touring bass player
  • George Donoso III (2001–2008) - drums, vocals
  • Martin Pelland (2001–2007) - bass, vocals
  • Valérie Jodoin Keaton (2002–2007) – keyboards, flute, vocals, percussion
  • Jonathan Cohen (1999–2002) - guitar
  • Brigitte Mayes (1999–2002) - cello, flute
  • Richard MacDonald (1995–1998) - guitar
  • John Tod (1995–2000) - drums
  • Andrew White (1995–1998) - bass


Murray Lightburn performing at South by Southwest.

Studio albums[edit]



Live albums[edit]

  • 2004: Thank You Good Night Sold Out
  • 2007: Instant Live: El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles, CA, 05/24/05
  • 2007: Instant Live: Magic Stick – Detroit, MI, 06/05/05
  • 2007: Instant Live: Paradise Rock Club – Boston, MA, 06/12/05
  • 2012: The Dears Live at Pasagüero - Mexico City, Mexico, 2010 (digital only, released by Arts & Crafts Mexico)


  • 2004: "We Can Have It"
  • 2004: "Lost in the Plot"
  • 2005: "22: The Death Of All The Romance"
  • 2006: "Ticket to Immortality"
  • 2006: "Whites Only Party"
  • 2007: "You and I Are a Gang of Losers"
  • 2008: "Money Babies"
  • 2010: "Omega Dog"
  • 2011: "Thrones"

Other contributions[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The Dears performing a free concert at Harbourfront in Toronto, Ontario.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Grant, Kieran: Dear little band, <>. Retrieved June 22, 2000
  2. ^ Farley, Andrew: The Dears: No Cities Left, <>. Retrieved October 11, 2004
  3. ^ Metacritic: Gang of Losers, <>.
  4. ^ Missio, Eric (2007-07-24). "The Dears: Polaris Pessimism and their Last Two Concerts this Year". Retrieved 2009-02-06. 
  5. ^ "2011 Polaris Music Prize Long List announced"., June 16, 2011.

External links[edit]