Their Time Is Coming Soon.

August 12, 2008 at 5:59 pm (cool band alert, new releases, rock and roll)

In 2005 the Montreal band The High Dials released a pretty great album called War Of The Wakening Phantoms. It was a disc that opened strong with two great songs (“Holy Ground” and “Strandhill Sands”) and sealed the deal with a song that defies easy description, a 5-minute epic called “Our Time Is Coming Soon”.

I’ve written about “Our Time Is Coming Soon” here a few times over the years, but screw it, I’m gonna do it again. “Our Time Is Coming Soon” is absolutely, hands-down my favorite song of the 2000’s so far. The opening two chord riff sets the stage, like gale force winds presaging a hurricane. They go unconventional after the first chorus and head straight to a bridge before the second verse, and Rishi Dhir plays one of the most kick-ass sitar solos of all time there (I actually kind of hate the sitar; to my taste it sorta is Asia’s answer to Scotland’s bagpipes as far as “instruments that make me want to run away” go…so saying a sitar solo is “kick ass” is no faint praise.) By the time they get to the final vocal bridge the song is in full blazing glory, and you wonder how they’re going to end this cyclone–almost always when a song gets as epic as “Our Time Is Coming Soon” gets, the creative juice runs out on the conclusion and things go out perfunctorily at best, if you’re lucky. Not so on here, though: “Our Time Is Coming Soon” ends like a supernova; the snare fill that starts martial and ends up galloping just as a descending guitar figure drops in gets your pulse racing, and then the drums turn into Keith Moon and the sound goes maelstrom and when they finally take their feet off the gas and let the song end, you realize The High Dials have managed a song unlike almost anything else anyone has even attempted in the post-Nirvana rock years.

“Our Time Is Coming Soon” mp3

The High Dials got a lot of deserved good press for War Of The Wakening Phantoms, but I’m not sure that translated into moving units. After what seemed like a hectic and gruelling year of touring in the States and through Europe, the Dials seemed rather emotionally spent. They lost their secret weapon when Rishi Dhir decided to opt out of the group. 2006 and 2007 went by without hearing much from the group. Their website went dark. Rainbow Quartz, their US label, has updated their site about twice since last October. Reading tour diaries/blogs from guitarist/singer/songwriter Trevor Anderson–who seems a great guy, but also seemed mentally exhausted by the time Dhir had left the group–I figured I’d heard the last from this once-promising band.

Not so! Back in May, the Dials promised to start posting songs from a new album on their Myspace page. The new record–which will be a double album–is called Moon Country. They’ve got 6 songs up at Myspace, and hoo-boy…if these six songs are representative of what’s to come on the full album, we may have us a contender for album of the year here. The High Dials seemed to respond to losing a musical element like Dhir by opening up their sound and letting their talent run wild. The band’s debut album, A New Devotion is pretty nifty, but it has an almost claustrophobic retro psychedelic sound that induces a little too much listener fatigue if taken in large doses. Phantoms, the second album, shows them opening things up a bit, with nods to more modern dreampop sounds like Kitchens Of Distinction or Ride.

Moon Country, at least based on the evidence of these six songs, takes that hinted-at direction of Phantoms and runs with it. “Do The Memory Lapse” could be vintage For Against or less blippy New Order. “These Days Mean Nothing To Me” manages to be both psychedelic and still manage a Kitchens influence while walking a fine line between light and darkness (the airy harmony on the chorus that gives way to the angry guitar chug right after is wonderful!) “Cartoon Breakup” opens with wheezy Melon Collie synths and then manages to give you four glorious minutes of spectacular, timeless loveliness. “Open Up The Gates” is a nod to their lysergic side, but far more interesting than you’d ever expect a song that could be described as a psychedelic pop song to be.

The real stunner here though is a song called “Killer Of Dragons”, which sounds like nothing else The High Dials have ever done. It is a gorgeous, beautiful track that delivers on every promise and all the potential this band has ever shown. If there were any justice in the world, “Killer Of Dragons” would become the massive top ten hit it richly deserves to be, but probably won’t because it won’t get the push to radio and retail it deserves. Ah well.

In any event, Moon Country I think is still slated for a September release, at least in Canada. I can’t wait to hear the whole thing, either. Over their past two records, when people talk about The High Dials, they talk about who they sound like; on these new songs, the greatest accomplishment on display is that the Dials sound like no one else but themselves. Keep a sharp eye out for this’n.

The High Dials Myspace Page, where you can bliss out on these six slabs of rock greatness…


  1. steve scariano said,

    Hey Kid,Are you and I the only people out there who still care about these guys?

  2. Chris H. said,

    Nah, they’ll hopefully get a decent push north of the border, and a song like “Killer Of Dragons” seems like the kind of thing a Music Supervisor with sharp ears in Hollywood or Madison Avenue would jump all over for a film or commercial. (I’m a big believer in art and music as commerce, so I’m all for that happening. Musicians able to pay a few bills by actually making music is something that makes me very happy.)

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