Toronto’s music scene was undergoing a major transitionary period when Dilly Dally released their debut album 'Sore', in 2015. It’s best not to ask too many questions about this periodisation, but, briefly, the 2000’s had seen the rise of a loveable indie scene: Broken Social Scene, Metric, Feist, and a number of other musically gifted groups licensed and subsequently immortalised in boring iPod commercials.
By the 2010s a darkness had replaced the colourful Ipod commercials, obscuring their dancing silhouettes. The Toronto indie scene hadn’t been able to keep up with its own success or maybe the 2008 financial crisis had laid waste to the optimism of 2000s indie. Better not to ask questions. Dilly Dally, descendants of that indie moment, were part of Toronto’s growing punk scene playing alongside bands like Fucked Up, Triage, METZ, and Crosss. Sore conjured a fever dream of 90s alt rock and was released to immediate critical acclaim.
Then, in the shadow of their success, Dilly Dally was thrust into a tumultuous period that more or less saw the band collapse. Co-founded Katie Monks ended up writing songs alone for a year, another member checked into rehab. Heaven aims to be a parable of redemption. No matter all the suffering, music saves, the press release tells us. The album is filled with positive messages and rousing post-rock. The second track is damn near operatic. The guitar line on 'Pretty Cold' is phenomenal. 'Believe' is outrageously self-helpy, but still, pretty good!
'Heaven' leans into the cliché. It prompts us to think seriously about what it means for music to rescue us, sincerely, from the depths. What does it mean to “love music”? Unlike its Torontopian predecessors, the optimism here is a product of desperation. Maybe optimism has always been a product of desperation. Again, better not to ask too many questions.
Words: Josh Gabert-Doyon
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