Apparently matching Damon Albarn in both the vocal and shirtiness department, key Dears member Murray A Lightburn is a talented little grump. While the Canadian gent can dispute the UK influence of No Cities Left until he's blue in the face, the fact remains that many of these tunes are as British as a plate of smoked kippers for breakfast. Cleverly, The Dears trump Blur at their old Britpop game by adding delectable female vocals of Natalia Yanchak, thus adding an extra dimension that Blur somewhat lacked (although trainspotters will recall the French version of Parklife's To The End featured the lovely vocals of Francois Hardy). Natalia's singing on We Can Have It, 22: The Death Of Romance and the closing title track is a delight when coupled with Lightburn's beguiling croon, with their voices moving together through the unexpected musical avenues of No Cities Left. While there's wisps of The Stranglers on Who Are You, Defenders Of The Universe and The Specials on Postcard From Purgatory, the less premeditated moments of musical appropriation make for the more inspiring Dears tunes. Current radio single Lost In The Plot neatly supplants The Smiths' There Is A Light That Never Goes Out line `Take me out tonight' with `Take me for a drive', while Lightburn's sombre Morrissey incantation returns on The Second Part, when This Charming Man's line `I would go out tonight, but I haven't got a stitch to wear' is rebirthed as `It rained all day, I don't have a raincoat of my own'. Pinned Together, Falling Apart eclipses even these early highlights, with an A Day In The Life style crescendo and the sort of theatrical drama expected from The Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon and Pulp's Jarvis Cocker. The inclusion of the Protest EP bonus disc with the re-released No Cities Left further enhances the second album from the Montreal group, with apocalyptic choir of Heaven Have Mercy On Us, the robotic Bowie style of Summer Of Protest and the Four Tet experimentation of Protest (Parallel Remix) showing that the band's repertoire is far from limited to elegant revisions of Britpop. He may spurn the comparisons, but the fact that Murray Lightburn has cleverly injected his band's own subtle charms into the Morrissey and Blur equation makes for a supreme Dears prologue.