Review Summary: A very enjoyable debut LP from Toronto's Dilly Dally
To put it bluntly, Toronto four piece Dilly Dally sound a heck of a lot like the Pixies at times. To put it mildly, this is hardly a bad thing. The group’s Facebook and Twitter pages label the band as ‘softgrunge’, but to lump them in the never ending line of bands who have attempted to be ‘grunge’ and come across as insincere (cough, Bush & Creed, cough) * would be selling them short.’
Yet, there will always certain traits of a band’s sound that are easily identifiable with what has come before. Quite simply, Dilly Dally are not pioneers in their field. Far from it. In fact, if one was to describe lead singer Katie Monks’ vocals, ‘Courtney Love with Laryngitis’ would be rather apt. Despite this, she more than holds her own, her blistering, horse vocals soaring above the crashing of the rest of the band behind her. The track ‘Purple Rage’ is perhaps the best example of such, with its punishing, slightly Siamese Dream sounding guitar riff leading the charge, driving the song into a raucous chorus in which Monks belts ‘You don’t know me, you don’t know me mannnn’, sounding like a spoilt sixteen year old complaining to her parents after she comes home past curfew. However, it sounds glorious, and is a real highlight of the album, along with opening track Desire, which while being the biggest Pixies imitation, is arguably the catchiest and best written song on the album.
As many bands do on their debut albums, Dilly Dally end up sounding the same after track 6, with the tracks following it generally decreasing in quality and originality, only to be redeemed by a closer that isn’t typical of what has come before. On Sore, the closing track ‘Burned by the Cold’ sees Monks going full raspy, with just a simple piano line to accompany her. In many ways, the stripped down nature of the track exposes her voice for what it is; raw, undefined, dare I say it, a bit ugly. But it also shows humility, and allows her to convey a fuller range of emotions than has previously been displayed. The contrast between the soft piano and her brutal vocals is wonderful, and is certainly among the best moments on the LP.
I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who is a fan of 90’s angst ridden rock, such as Nirvana and the Pixies. Does this come even close? Hell no, but it is still a highly enjoyable listen.
*DISCLAIMER: The author quite enjoys the work of Bush and Creed. Far from every song is good, but there are a few decent tracks on most of their albums. Except for Sixteen Stone, that album is killer, and if you don’t agree, then I’ll fight ya. As for Creed..yeah I ain’t got no defence.