The Dears

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The Dears
The Dears at The Electric Ballrooms, Camden, London, UK. February 2005.
The Dears at The Electric Ballrooms, Camden, London, UK. February 2005.
Background information
OriginMontreal, Quebec, Canada
GenresIndie rock, psychedelic rock
Years active1995–present
LabelsPheromone, Grenadine, MapleMusic, Bella Union, Arts & Crafts, Dangerbird, Albert, Arts & Crafts México
MembersMurray Lightburn
Natalia Yanchak
Jeff Luciani
Past membersMartin Pelland
George Donoso III
Valerie Jodoin Keaton
Adrian Popovich
Jason Kent
Christopher McCarron
Laura Wills
Yann Geoffroy
Rob Benvie
Jonathan Cohen
Joseph Donovan
Richard MacDonald
Brigitte Mayes
John Tod
Andrew White
Patrick Krief
Roberto Arquilla

The Dears are a Canadian indie rock band from Montreal, Quebec. The band is led by the husband-and-wife duo of singer-guitarist Murray Lightburn and keyboardist Natalia Yanchak.


The band formed in 1995 and released their first album, End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story, in 2000.[1] Their orchestral, dark pop sound and dramatic live shows established The Dears as part of the then-emerging Canadian indie renaissance.[2]

The Dears performed in Toronto in October 2001 with Sloan.[3] 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 shows at SXSW '04 launched their international career.[4]

The Dears toured extensively across Canada, U.S., 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.[5]

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."[6]

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.[7]

Band members[edit]

Natalia Yanchak performing at South by Southwest.

Current members[edit]

  • Murray Lightburn (since 1995) - vocals, guitar, keyboards, percussion, bass
  • Natalia Yanchak (since 1998) - keyboards, vocals
  • Jeff Luciani (since 2010) - drums
  • Steve Raegele (since 2015) - guitar
  • Rémi-Jean LeBlanc (since 2019) - bass

Past members[edit]

  • Clinton Ryder (2018) - touring bass player
  • Tessa Kautzman (2016-2017) - touring bass player
  • Rob Benvie (2002–2003, 2009, 2016–2017) - guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion, vocals
  • Patrick Krief (2003–2008, 2010–2015) - guitar, vocals, piano
  • Roberto Arquilla (1997–2000, 2010–2015) - bass
  • Laura Wills (2008–2009) - touring keyboards, vocals
  • Jason Kent (2008–2009, 2017) - touring guitar, vocals, keyboards
  • Christopher McCarron (2008–2009) - touring guitar player
  • 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]


Compilation albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]

  • 2004: Thank You Good Night Sold Out
  • 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"[8]
  • 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"
  • 2015: "I Used To Pray For The Heavens To Fall"
  • 2015: "Here's to the Death of All the Romance"
  • 2017: "To Hold and Have"
  • 2017: "Of Fisticuffs"
  • 2017: "1998"
  • 2017: "I'm Sorry That I Wished You Dead"
  • 2020: "The Worst In Us"
  • 2020: "Heart Of An Animal"

Other contributions[edit]

  • Syrup & Gasoline Vol. 2 (2001, Grenadine Records) – "Le pauvre chanteur (From The South Shore)"
  • Acoustic 07 (2007, V2 Records) – "You and I Are a Gang of Losers"

Awards and nominations[edit]

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Carpenter, Lorraine (2011). The Dears: Lost in The Plot. Montreal, QC: Invisible Publishing. ISBN 978-1926743134.
  2. ^ "CANOE - JAM! Dears, The: Dear little band". 2004-11-30. Retrieved 2015-10-27.
  3. ^ "LIVE: Sloan w/ The Dears October 26, 2001". Chart Attack, review by Jenny Yuen.
  4. ^ release information at Drowned in Sound Archived February 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Reviews for Gang of Losers by The Dears". Metacritic. Retrieved 2015-10-27.
  6. ^ Missio, Eric (2007-07-24). "The Dears: Polaris Pessimism and their Last Two Concerts this Year". Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  7. ^ "2011 Polaris Music Prize Long List announced". AUX.TV. 2011-06-16. Archived from the original on 2015-10-02. Retrieved 2015-10-27.
  8. ^ a b "A Completely Biased Ranking of the 60 Best Canadian Indie Rock Songs of the 00s Part II". Vice, Cam Lindsay Apr 10 2017,
  9. ^ "2016 Short List". Polaris Music Prize. Archived from the original on 2016-10-09. Retrieved 2016-09-26.

External links[edit]