It the short years since Dilly Dally released their acclaimed debut record, ‘Sore’, the Toronto rockers managed to tour the world and take the press by storm, only to nearly call it quits and walk away forever. Rising from the ashes with more power and conviction than ever before, the band’s latest album is, appropriately enough, titled ‘Heaven,’ and it’s a fierce, fiery ode to optimism, a distortion-soaked battle cry for hope and beauty in a world of darkness and doubt. Monks describes the songs as coping mechanisms, and the collection does indeed form something of a survival kit for hard times, but even more than that, it’s a declaration of faith in the power of music and a burning reminder that we need not wait until the afterlife for things to get better.
“It felt like there was no point in doing another record if it wasn’t genuine or if we made it for anybody other than ourselves,” says frontwoman Katie Monks . “We wanted this album to be something that could help heal old wounds and rejuvenates us while we’re on the road, something that could give us a clean slate and a fresh start. Making this record helped us fall in love with each other all over again.”
That love is the beating heart of Dilly Dally. Monks and guitarist Liz Ball formed the band after bonding over a shared passion for explosive, grungy rock and roll in high school, and the two have been inseparable and unwavering in their vision ever since.
Years of hard work and grinding in the Toronto punk scene were finally paying off when the band released their acclaimed debut record, Sore, earning acclaim from critics and audiences alike on both sides of the Atlantic, but life on the road is taxing even under the best circumstances, and the weight of it all came crashing down in a way that no one had anticipated. “I always thought that once we started doing well, it would make any problems go away and everyone would be happy,” Monks reflects. “But instead, success sort of illuminated whatever dark energy had been lying around, and things erupted on tour.”
With the band’s future in limbo, Monks retreated into herself and her art. She left social media and focused on journaling and meditation, seeking to put as much daylight as possible between herself and the music industry. For an entire year, she wrote alone in her bedroom every single day on a white Flying V guitar, creating a sound that is a singular one in the contemporary landscape, an intensely raw blend of fuzzed-out catharsis and melodic ecstasy delivered with what Brooklyn Magazine describes as a “snarling feminine energy.” Where ‘Sore’ was rooted in desire and rage, ‘Heaven’ is all about hope and optimism.
With the support of her bandmates, and Producer Rob Schnapf (Elliott Smith, Beck) encouraged the band to lean into the unique space their music occupies and be unapologetically themselves. Rather than smooth out the rough edges, he highlighted them, drawing every potent ounce of energy from the foursome’s swampy tones, raspy vocals, and volatile rhythm section.
In the end, Dilly Dally labors under no delusions, and if you think holding onto hope in a fucked up world is naive, they don’t particularly care. Life is hard, depression sucks, and the road can be brutal. But every night, when the band steps onstage to sing these songs, all bathed in bright light, white Flying V front and center, it’s sure going to feel a lot like heaven.