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The High Dials – A New Devotion (20th Anniversary Edition) (2003/2023) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

The High Dials – A New Devotion (20th Anniversary Edition) (2003/2023)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 01:08:27 minutes | 778 MB | Genre: Indie Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © The High Dials – Fontana North

When first released in July 2003, A New Devotion sounded like it might burst out of its jewel case. Even at a wopping 76-minutes, the CD could barely contain four hyperactive lads romping across music history like kids in a candy store. Detractors hated its retro, upbeat vibe. Some even accused the band of wearing stylistic straightjackets. But those who “got it” rejoiced—a merry band of influential and vocal supporters that included Little Steven van Zandt, Al Kooper, Andrew Loog Oldham and Anton Newcombe. Pre-social media, word spread the old-fashioned (i.e. slower) way—sympathetic message boards, local gigs and radio shows. The High Dials soon found themselves circling round and round the continent in their purple van, helping build the scene that would later blossom into psychedelia’s third wave.

Beneath what one critic called its “head-shaking innocence” however, A New Devotion hinted at some seriously bummed-out feelings. Songs described an alienating world of machines, shadowy overlords, spies and mechanical birds. A comic book was meant to accompany the release, telling the story of a boy named Silas and his attempts to escape a domed city. (Time and tiny budgets spoiled that dream.) Other major corners had been cut, too—key songs scrapped and mixes badly rushed.

Now, 20 years later, Hook & Prayer Records is proud to re-release A New Devotion as it was meant to be experienced. Fully re-mastered to tape, with remixes by songwriter/producer Trevor Anderson, never-before-heard tracks unveiled, and a comic book finally on the way, this memorable debut is set to explode out of its casing all over again!

A quartet from Montreal, the High Dials are firm believers in the three Bs: the Beatles, the Byrds, and British psychedelia as purveyed by the Who and the Pretty Things. Their second record, A New Devotion, is a pleasant trip back to the ’60s that is also a quaint concept album dealing with the travails of Silas, an average guy trapped in a futuristic nightmare. As with most concept records, the narrative flow is kind of fuzzy, but that is no big deal because the songs themselves (like the dreamy “Desiderata,” the subdued “Leaving Alphaville,” and the peppy “Morning’s White Vibration”) are mostly pretty decent. The group blends the soaring harmonies and jangling guitars of the Byrds with the charging songcraft of the mid-period Beatles and tops it all off with a heady dose of pastoral psychedelia in the lyric department and on the occasional tune like the trippy “Can You Hear the Bells?” The melodies are strong and the performances convincing, and if you dig where the bandmembers are coming from, it is hard not to be impressed at the skill with which they capture the feeling of the mid-’60s. The only faults with the record: at a little over an hour, the disc is about 20 minutes too long, and the band doesn’t seem too interested in the thing that helped make the three Bs so groundbreaking — a sonically imaginative and exciting sound. The High Dials are too polite-sounding and too willing to play things straight to truly measure up to their heroes in any meaningful way. Too many of the songs feel like rote imitations; by the end of the record one is left with an impression of a band with no imagination. All this really is in the end is a pleasant exercise in nostalgia, and when it comes down to a choice between listening to A New Devotion or pulling out your copy of S.F. Sorrow again, S.F. Sorrow will win out every time. – Tim Sendra

Tracklist:
01. The High Dials – Diamonds In the Dark (20th Anniversary Edition) (03:08)
02. The High Dials – The Dead Hand (20th Anniversary Edition) (02:41)
03. The High Dials – City Rivers (20th Anniversary Edition) (02:53)
04. The High Dials – Hello Boy (20th Anniversary Edition) (02:12)
05. The High Dials – Desiderata (20th Anniversary Edition) (05:24)
06. The High Dials – T.V. Mystic (20th Anniversary Edition) (01:48)
07. The High Dials – Antenna (20th Anniversary Edition) (03:36)
08. The High Dials – Can You Hear The Bells? (20th Anniversary Edition) (03:00)
09. The High Dials – Fields In Glass (20th Anniversary Edition) (03:25)
10. The High Dials – Save The Machine! (20th Anniversary Edition) (05:05)
11. The High Dials – Leaving Alphaville (20th Anniversary Edition) (02:24)
12. The High Dials – Silas, Please Come Home (20th Anniversary Edition) (02:19)
13. The High Dials – My Heart Is Black (20th Anniversary Edition) (03:15)
14. The High Dials – The Birds (20th Anniversary Edition) (02:31)
15. The High Dials – Surrender (20th Anniversary Edition) (03:53)
16. The High Dials – Assassins (20th Anniversary Edition) (04:36)
17. The High Dials – St. Marie (20th Anniversary Edition) (02:48)
18. The High Dials – Sweetness And Light (20th Anniversary Edition) (02:31)
19. The High Dials – Morning’s White Vibration (20th Anniversary Edition) (03:36)
20. The High Dials – Things Are Getting Better (20th Anniversary Edition) (04:23)
21. The High Dials – Regeneration (20th Anniversary Edition) (02:48)

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