The Dials

By - Dec 1st, 2005 02:52 pm
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By Erin Wolf

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Chicago’s The Dials debut album Flex Time is an exciting encounter in the already well-behaved genre of dance-band pop/rock. Snarling like the throttled vocals of Sleater-Kinney and equaling their growly, growly guitars, yet jumping off of dance-y influences such as early Joy Division and Franz Ferdinand and pure poppers such as the Go-Go’s , B52’s, and The Waitresses, The Dials are a motley crew of influences, indeed.

With claims to the Chicago music scene, probably better known for its harder-edged sounds, The Dials’ music is a surprising shade of bubblegum laced with pop rocks. Patti Gran’s guitar crunches up chords, Rebecca Crawford’s bass devours the capable drum lines set by the late Douglas Meis, while Emily Dennison’s Farfisa combo organ nibbles at the main rhythms by creating intertwining surf-rock beeps. The whole effect is like listening to The Waitresses who have had too much coffee on the job – wiry and invigorating, and definitely in your face.

The lyrics are fun and pop-punchy in the same vein as The Ramones. In “Bye Bye Bye Bye Baby,” Crawford taunts, “You’ll be sitting pretty in your new shitty city with your new girlfriend / I can’t wait until it ends.” Crawford, Gran and Dennison trade vocal shrieks and sneers with the grace of well-executed high-school hallway insult swap. Flex Time is full of dynamic energy, the quartet slamming out notes and chords so fast, they threaten to self-combust. It’s dance music at its best for it has enough raw energy to not be coma-inducing, nor does it put on any airs – The Dials have a lighthearted yet raw and energizing sound, censored of any false pretences.  VS

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