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Life in sunlight and daytime is dictated by purpose. We move about our cities and towns with determination, and destinations in mind. There’s always somewhere we’re trying to get to. But in the night, during those darkest hours of the day, we pursue escape in all its forms. Down the neck of a bottle for some; into alternate worlds for others. Many flee into themselves, turn inwards in order to escape the external world.
It’s a romantic, bohemian image: wandering neon-lit city streets after midnight, on the edge of danger, delights, discoveries and disappointments. The High Dials‘ Trevor Anderson saw his fair share of midnight dramas play out while DJing nights in Montreal, and while the sights and sounds city nightlife leave a heavy impression on In The A.M. Wilds, it is the unknown, lying in wait for us in darkened corners that informs this record and makes it such a compelling listen.
“Echoes and Empty Rooms” pulses with the quickening heartbeat of anticipation and excitement, like the flush of feelings you have sitting on the train as you rocket into the city at the start of a night out. From there, In The A.M. Wilds explodes like a kaleidoscope. Arbitrary patterns of colour, light, and sound reflect and refract familiar surroundings, experiences and emotions.
The breathlessly brief “D.U.I” spins your head one way before the infectious beat of “On Again, Off Again” moves your body in the opposite direction, echoing The High Dials’ exploration of the groove on these new songs. While In The A.M. Wilds carries the band’s signature sonic layers and textures, this is The High Dials at their most raw and primal. It’s a sound that suits them.
“I don’t know why I come here,” confesses the protagonist of “Club Stairs”, a sentiment we’ve all found ourselves feeling in one situation or another, unable to stop ourselves from moving head-first towards something, someone or someplace we know we should avoid. In The A.M. Wilds invokes the exact opposite reaction. Its tales of the urban wild and wandering around cities at night offers an enticing reprieve from responsibility and reality. The repeated lyric “We should get lost again,” in closing song “Blank Spaces On The Map” more appropriately expresses how you’ll feel at the end of The High Dials’ latest: “This was fun. Let’s do it again tomorrow night.”
In The A.M. Wilds is out February 3 on Fontana North/Universal.Tags: The High Dials