Dilly Dally - Heaven

by Tim Sentz Rating:8 Release Date:2018-09-14
Dilly Dally - Heaven
Dilly Dally - Heaven

By the time Dilly Dally’s debut record Sore rolled around, there were already over a dozen bands like them already making waves. Sore took the Toronto band around the world and back again, tour-wise, and resulted in the almost-demise of the band. And if Sore had been their only memoir, it would have been a solid one-off. But if that were to have happened, it would have deprived the world of their masterful sophomore effort, Heaven. And that would have been truly sad.

Great female punk bands aren’t hard to come by these days – Priests released a fantastic record last year with Nothing Feels Natural, and Sleater-Kinney is still going strong after their reunion a few years back. But Katie Monks of Dilly Dally is on a different level than the casual punk acts. “I Feel Free” opens Heaven, with an almost dream-pop like introduction, before pounding those drums hard into your brain. Monks doesn’t let up either, her serpent-like vocals recall the power of Frances Quinlan of Hop Along, but the scorching of Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth.

Heaven is all about that brutal aesthetic that bands like Sonic Youth were perfecting in the 80s. Dilly Dally was introduced to the world with Sore, but Heaven is a more complete statement – a stronger, more focused statement. The toxicity of touring took its toll on the band after Sore, and instead of rehashing that record, Monks and her band of misfits made a record for themselves. Heaven is bursting with character, like on “Doom” where the band sludges down into metal territory with that humongous riff – superkicking Black Sabbath in the taint, and following up a hair-raising chorus by Monks that devolves into a gurgling screech. This isn’t a band messing around anymore. Sometimes you can hear a record and not be able to delineate from song to song, or from band to band, but Dilly Dally is front and center on Heaven.

The only issues with Heaven come from possibly last-minute decisions to accessorize things – the chorus on “Believe” seems tailored for the watered-down excuses for radio rock plaguing the world, even if it’s not as derivative of the latest boring Green Day song. Also, the fact that a song is called “Marijuana” means that someone somewhere to like it just for that fact, thankfully the song is a reliable rocker and should knock any stoner out of the funk they’re in.

The post-punky “Pretty Cold” rips a Sonic Youth riff with style, meanwhile “Bad Biology” sees Monks go literally off the deep end as she spirals down into some abyss – it’s riveting and sexy. Everything about Heaven is bigger than Sore. The guitars are louder. The distortion pierces ears harder. Monks shreds her vocals deeper. Even Monks’ harmonies are larger, making Heaven the more accessible record and a great starting place for new fans. Heaven isn’t just one of the best punk records of the year, it’s one of the clearest statements from a band coming back from the edge, and everything must be bigger and better for them.

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