"We ain't here to steal your women - at least that wasn't the plan." Sometimes a single lyric can capture the swagger and defiance of an entire album. And Montreal's The Dears have plenty to feel good about.

Feted by many and sidelined by some for the debt 2004's 'No Cities Left' owed to certain British records, band leader Murray Lightburn & Co have returned with an album which strengthens their own identity and is so well-formed and filler-free that you wonder why so many other groups can't manage the same.

As 'No Cities Left' showed, Lightburn is an excellent lyricist and here he deftly blends the personal and political to some great moody music - exemplified by 'Bandwagoneers', a song that would sound as good in empty discos as full stadiums, and 'Whites Only Party', equal parts anger, swing and sad piano. 

The magic of 'Gang of Losers' reveals itself by degrees, but nor does it take too long to sink in. The Dears deserve a lot of attention for this album; whether they get it is another thing. Either way, don't get left behind: this is one gang you want to be in - and the initiation ceremony is a pleasure from beginning to end.

Harry Guerin