This Montreal band (previously called The Datsons) is making a name for itself, since 2003. More and more, their Smiths-influenced new wave rock is finding its own route, thanks to strong music riffs (Echoes and Empty Rooms) and airy melancholy. Like Johnny Marr’s music, they blend happy and sad feelings. Some songs of their latest album “In the A.M. Wilds” are very nice and soft, like Flower on the Vine, while other are pretty upbeat (Amateur Astronomer).

The contrast makes this band interesting. Their melodic talent makes them distinct. D.U.I. has that lift effect that is irresistible. There’s no obvious hit single on their fifth album, but all songs are strong and have something going on. Intros are also very Smiths-esque. When the music picks up from certain instruments or effects, then builds up into a more formatted (in a good way) chorus/refrain type of rock songs, you feel the 80s new wave influence. More the REM, Smiths and Soul Asylum type of alternative rock. Although there are a few very 80s keyboards here and there, the guitars take most of the place.


It would be unfair and somehow reducer to limit The High Dials as an 80s influenced band. They are more than just that. Founding members Trevor Anderson (singer, songwriter) and Robbie MacArthur (guitarist) are still the center of the band, that has become a quartet. Last year, we had reviewed their “Desert Tribe” and “Yestergraves” EPs. Some of the songs released on these EPs are back on this album.

A more dynamic song like Desert Tribe exposes the contrast of softly sung lyrics with upbeat drumming, while Yestergraves has a smoother angle with Cure-esque guitar effects from “The Head on the Door” era. Even in Anderson’s singing style, we can hear influences from Men at Work and Corey Hart when he cranks up the intensity.

“In the A.M. Wilds” was released on Feb 3, 2015. Last year, two of their songs were featured on the hit Netflix series House of Cards which also brought them notoriety in the US.

In the A.M. Wilds
(independant, 2015)

-Genre: alternative rock à la 80s

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Listen to videos on the band’s YouTube channel

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier

Mélomane invétéré plongeant dans tous les genres et époques, Nicolas Pelletier a publié 6 000 critiques de disques et concerts depuis 1991, dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Il publie "Les perles rares et grands crus de la musique" en 2013, lance le site RREVERB en 2014, et devient stratège numérique des radios de Bell Média en 2015, participant au lancement de la marque iHeartRadio au Canada en 2016. Il dirige maintenant la stratégie numérique d'ICI Musique, la radio musicale de Radio-Canada.