The Dears, Concorde 2, Brighton

3.00

The Dears prove their true worth

The Dears may not have the most arresting name in pop history, but musically they are full of promise. It's taken three albums and 10 years for them to get where they are today - that is, playing to packed venues - an achievement that is largely down to their current LP
No Cities Left, a collection of darkly expressive, highly articulate pop songs that prompt immediate comparisons to Blur, Belle & Sebastian, Pink Floyd and The Smiths.

The Dears may not have the most arresting name in pop history, but musically they are full of promise. It's taken three albums and 10 years for them to get where they are today - that is, playing to packed venues - an achievement that is largely down to their current LP No Cities Left, a collection of darkly expressive, highly articulate pop songs that prompt immediate comparisons to Blur, Belle & Sebastian, Pink Floyd and The Smiths.

If you had to guess where The Dears came from, it would be a toss-up between London and Manchester, though they hail from Montreal. Their love of all things British is no secret ("Well, we do have the Queen on our money," they quipped during a recent interview), a fact that is borne out by the singer Murray Lightburn's admiration for Morrissey. His voice has a similar tremulous moan, while his lyrics come with a beguilingly poetic moroseness. The opening lines to the brilliant "Lost in the Plot" - "Take me for a drive to the coastline / Pull me to the depths of the sea", could seamlessly preface Morrissey's "Everyday is Like Sunday" ("This is the coastal town / That they forgot to close down").

But that's not to say Lightburn is merely a Stars in Their Eyes version of Morrissey. While Johnny Marr would be sure to recognise the jangly opening chords of "Don't Lose the Faith", you imagine even he would baulk at the psychedelic noodling that arrives at the end of "Expect the Worst". Put simply, The Dears can rock out with the best of them and they're too smart to get weighed down by their own emotional baggage.

Their enthusiasm is heart-warming. "Last time we played in this town, we had an audience of approximately 10," grins Lightburn, adding: "You seem to have multiplied." They'll keep growing, too, if they continue knocking out records like No Cities Left, though they're hard-rockin' approach doesn't always translate live.

Tonight, there are moments when the five band members seem to be battling against one another, in particular during the opener, "Postcards from Purgatory". Having kept the audience waiting for 45 minutes (forcing some to leave early in order to get the bus home), they begin with a feedback-filled psychedelic wig-out that would have been better off saved until later, if not wiped from the set. This is closely followed by "Never Destroy Us" - a soul-rock number that spills over with strings, flutes, horns and crashing guitars; basically everything including the kitchen sink.

It's on the simpler, more melodic numbers, when Lightburn's vocals are allowed to take centre stage; that The Dears show us what they're really made of. The Nico-esque keyboard player Natalia Yanchak (and, it transpires, Lightburn's missus) proves an impressive vocalist in her own right on the elegiac duet "22: the Death of All the Romance".

They say best things come to those who wait. After 10 years, it seems The Dears may at last be reaching their peak.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea