In the short time since they released their acclaimed debut record, Sore, Dilly Dally toured the world and took the press by storm, only to nearly collapse under the weight of their own success and call it quits forever. Rising from the ashes with more power and conviction than ever before, the Toronto rockers’ new album is, appropriately enough, titled Heaven, and it’s a fierce, fiery ode to optimism, a distortion-soaked battle cry for hope and beauty in a world of darkness and doubt.
Frontwoman Katie Monks describes the songs as coping mechanisms, and the collection does indeed form something of a survival kit for hard times, but even more than that, it’s a declaration of faith in the power of music and a burning reminder that we need not wait until the afterlife for things to get better.
Recorded with producer Rob Schnapf (Elliott Smith, Beck), Heaven highlights Dilly Dally’s rough edges in all their ragged glory, drawing every potent ounce of energy from the foursome’s swampy tones, raspy vocals, and volatile rhythm section. While the music is undeniably ferocious, there’s uplift woven into the fabric of every track. Heaven opens with the dreamy “I Feel Free,” which begins as a floating, untethered soundscape before transforming into a soaring anthem for a world that’s ready to finally turn the page on all the darkness and disillusion the last few years have wrought.
The inexorable “Believe” insists on self-confidence, while the driving “Sober Motel” celebrates the lucidity a clear mind, and the lilting “Sorry Ur Mad” makes a case for releasing yourself from the prisons of anger and resentment. Escape is a frequent goal—from the bruising “Marijuana” to the epic queer tragedy of “Bad Biology”—but it ultimately solves very little, at least in any permanent way, and so the album carves out its own atheistic religion to get through the day, a faith that validates our pain as real but responds with a beaming light of hope (and maybe a little bit of weed).
Monks and guitarist Liz Ball originally formed the band in high school after bonding over a shared love for explosive, grungy rock and roll. By the time they recorded their debut, the pair had fleshed out the lineup with bassist Jimmy Tony and drummer Benjamin Reinhartz and hit a blistering stride that floored critics on both sides of the Atlantic. Rolling Stone hailed Sore as a “blazing” breakout that “sounds like an unleashed id with a sick distortion pedal,” while Fader said it “hits that ever-elusive sweetspot between total recklessness and sly control,” and Pitchfork raved that the record “oozes with female desire” and offers up “a heavy swagger redolent of some of the best ever alt-rock.”
In the UK, The Guardian praised the band’s “bludgeoning bass, gnarly guitars and red-raw vocals,” and The Line Of Best Fit dubbed it “a seminal first album.” The music earned Dilly Dally dates with Grouplove, METZ, and Fat White Family in addition to their first-ever international headline tour and festival appearances from Osheaga to Field Day.