GEORGIE HURST reviews the Toronto quartet’s debut album.
Grunge is dead? Not so for Toronto based band Dilly Dally, who have revived the genre that soundtracked many an adolescence, giving it a lick of paint with their new album Sore, and making it wilder and angstier than ever. Formed in 2009 by high-school friends Katie Monks and Liz Ball, the band stumbled through their youthful period, bonding over the legendary indie-rock of bands like Pixies and Sonic Youth and channeling the indolent appeal of their icons into their very band name, Dilly Dally.
Sore, the band’s debut album, reinvents what we all know and have come to love about grunge. The album’s first song, ‘Desire’, roars into action with screeching feedback that transports you back to Seattle in the early 90s; it’s so visceral you can almost smell the beer and pot of an early Nirvana show. Monks’ vocal style blends an oddly pleasant mix of riot-grrl, wailing ‘This fire!’ in the chorus, and melodic tones in the verse as she broodingly sings how ‘milky waves are fallin’ from her eyes, I get desire.’
Their music has the endearing quality of a still-playing-in-my-parent’s-garage band, having only been signed earlier this year to Partisan Records, with nods to the fictional band ‘Sex Bob-omb’ from Edgar Wright’s film Scott Pilgrim Vs The World. In particular, this is reflected on the importance they place on friendship and the insane amount of passion for the music they create. ‘We started a band because we believed in ourselves,’ says Monks, ‘and we believed in Music – almost like it was a religion.’ Both drummer Benjamin Reinhartz and bassist Jimmy Rowlinson seem to have served the band well, being fairly recent additions to the line up and apparently sharing the same love for grunge and mumbled poetic lyrics.
The energy of the album is unreal, its mellow riffs and thickly distorted power chords evoking the noise-rock appeal of bands like My Bloody Valentine. One song in particular that does this well is ‘Purple Rage’, the second single released from the album. The song powerfully kicks in with a raucous chord progression, drums that attack and fuse with a saccharine guitar that you can’t help head banging to, particularly when Monk’s wails ‘don’t wanna know!’ The celestial cooing of the fifth song, ’Next Gold’, adopts a Libertines-esque vibe with its lo-fi guitar tone and garbled melodies, while ‘The Touch’ showcases piercing vocals that even Bikini Kill or Babes in Toyland would be proud of. ‘Burned by the Cold’ finishes the album, a down-tempo song with piano chords coated with reverb and Monks’ resonating melancholic drawls. You can almost feel the chill of autumn surfacing as the record ends.
Sore is a must-listen record for any diehard grunge fan, or any music fan, period. Dilly Dally create a perfect union of the lackadaisical vocals and the tumultuous distorted guitar sounds that made grunge such a nostalgic genre for many of us. This band pick up where dozens of others left off in the 90s, stirring up the kind of angsty passion invoked when a teenager hears Nevermind for the first time. With a sound as rousing as Dilly Dally’s, Sore could even be the Nevermind of the next generation.
Dilly Dally are playing at The Victoria in Dalston on the 7th of January