Home > Bargain > The Dials – Flex Time

The Dials – Flex Time

Latest Flame Records, 2005

Just picked this one up the other day and, though I’ve been trying to be a little more selective with the square-shaped plastic and paper that litters my office space, felt that this was going to be a good one.  On the cover, three ladies and a really tall dude adorn some VU meters that a radio DJ tends to see quite a bit, though perhaps the band wasn’t thinking of such people when three out of the four dials are at a low volume setting.  An overly cautious DJ might think this was some kind of signal to leave this possible easy listening venture in the bin, but thankfully I cast away my sleuthing skills and went for this one.

The Dials from Chicago, (not to be confused by the lads from Brighton,) lay out a quick tryst of pop punk that reminds one of the Marked Men and the Soviettes.  It’s pop punk all the way, but it’s not the usual tripe that one might expect from the MTV kids or whatever they’re mass producing these days.  The songs don’t have a guy singing too earnestly or wretchedly, but instead feature two lady vocalists that alternate between songs with rapid enunciation of words.  Sometimes they squeak in delight, sometimes it’s more of a cool swagger, but never do either women grate on the ears with whatever vocal styles they invoke.  “Dead Beat” starts off the record right with a hovering beginning before bursting into the power riffs and quickened keyboarding.  The title track makes one believe that the band has decided to cool it down a bit, only to rev it up as expected halfway through.  Listening to this track in particular might give off a Sleater-Kinney impression with the musical composition and variation of vocals, but without the sharp stabs of Corin Tucker.  This really marks the only slow part of the disc, for it really picks up by “Nothing But Crazy” and “Tick Tock” only to eventually give way to the mysterious, groggy hidden track at the end of the record.  For thirteen or so tracks at less than thirty minutes, the Dials do quite well in mainlining some adrenaline into the listener no matter how immobile one might be.

Check the Dials out at high volume on GrooveShark: The Dials – Flex Time

The Dials put out a follow up record in 2008 of more good pop punk stuff, but only after dealing with the tragic death of their fine drummer by a moron on wheels.  I’m glad that the band was able to hang through the hardship by continuing with new drummer and, as can be seen from the various web pages of social networking, they’re still rocking the Chicago circuit.  With the types of bands they’re opening for, at least I think it’d be likely I’ll get to see them sometime if the end up touring out of that cold town over there.

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