For twelve years Katie Monks and Liz Ball have been connected through music. A sister-like bond that requires no words. The two Toronto-based musicians met in high school over a common love of legendary bands like The Pixies, scrawling lyrics and poetry to mimic their heroes. Both self-taught guitarists, Ball and Monks also idolized the lackadaisical sorrow of Kurt Cobain, Christopher Owens and Pete Doherty, slowly manifesting that admiration into their own band they called Dilly Dally, and eventually their debut record, Sore.
Heavy and melodic, and with nods to Sonic Youth, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Distillers, and even The Pogues, Monks calls it “All that and a bag of weed.” After years of rotating members (Ball and Monks have traded out three drummers and bassists), they have settled with Benjamin Reinhartz and Jimmy Tony. The combination resulted in a debut that sweeps the listener along into Monks’ psyche, as she screams in a coarse holler that chameleons, sliding in cadence and scale. Monks paints pictures of snakes crawling out of her head, while Ball adds simple, sparkling guitar leads that cut through the wall of fuzz and pedals. Reinhartz’s drumming is instinctual, driving forward, while Jimmy Tony carries the melody along with his simple and effective bass lines. Dilly Dally plays like one person, a unit that works to infect the audience. After a few choice singles and a 7”, the band’s debut is strong work, due in part to production from Josh Korody (Fucked Up, Greys) and Leon Taheny (Owen Pallett, Austra, Dusted).
Sore is a dynamic album that rarely lets up. The pop sensibilities shine through the noise. This is what makes Dilly Dally feel like an updated version of the quiet-loud-quiet simplicity coined by the Pixies and mimicked by Nirvana’s fleet. The opening track “Desire” details a great sexual release, while instant hits like “Purple Rage,” “Next Gold,” and “Snake Head” challenge menstruation, self-reinvention after heart break and band dynamics – and Canadian cigarettes.
“Music, to me, is a cultural conversation happening all the time – and I wanna be a part of it. Listen to what others are saying, and respond…it all connects to what is going on in the world. We came from the suburbs with complete naivety, and blind faith in our dreams,” says Monks. “We still have that blind faith, I guess. Perhaps, we are less naive.”