[Album Review] The High Dials- In the A.M. Wilds
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Release Date: February 3rd, 2015
Label: Fontana North/Universal

In the AM Wilds is the name of The 5th full-length studio album by Montreal’s The High Dials. Inspired by the band’s real-life experiences in the realms of urban nightlife, this album is a reflection of after-dark trials and tribulations. It summons up a sense of searching, of losing oneself, finding oneself, and losing oneself again, and such is the repeating pattern in so many of us caught up in the allure of the night. Yet the highs and lows are subdued, the progression of the album oh-so-subtle and contained, and this seems to be a trademark quality of the High Dial’s sound, which also can be defined by the dark and poppy resonance at the core of each one of their songs. The album doesn’t call attention to itself by forcefully grabbing the listener by the scruff of their necks. There is nothing outwardly gravitating or face-melting about it, and at surface value it may even feel a bit bland. But, if paid attention to carefully enough, a certain appreciation arises for the minute shifts and colorations amongst tracks. Its one of those seemingly simple albums that deepens over time with each subsequent listen, reflecting on experiences far less tangible and much more psychological.

Noteable cameos of warm, country-inspired riffs like those in the track Flower on the Vine which give listeners fleeting moments of warmth and romance while tracks like Amateur Astronomer crosses into (though, like I say, it is subtle) territory of vintage psychedelia. Two stand-alone tracks are “Yestergraves” and “Blank Spaces”. In the first, an angsty yet groovy bass-line paired with 80s inspired drum kicks is layered beneath bright and poppy guitars, transforming the track into something both dark and danceable. “Blank Spaces” suits its name well. We start off immersed in ungroundedness, lonely vocals echo through a hollow and spacious atmosphere, then halfway through the piece finds its solidity, grounding down into a toe-tapping, bittersweet dream.

For those who appreciate a clean, well-organized, and well-produced album with just a touch of instability, this is the album for you.