High Dials Anthems for a Doomed Youth

High Dials Anthems for a Doomed Youth
Over the course of three full-lengths, Montreal's High Dials have perfected their blend of '60s pop hooks and swirling guitars, putting the fruits of their seven-year career on display with Anthems for a Doomed Youth. Far from the drag-fest its title implies, the quintet walk the fine line between playing up their pop strengths and embracing swirling sonics. The former always wins out, with vocal harmonies and chiming guitars bringing to mind Bandwagonesque-era Teenage Fanclub. This keeps the group away from self-indulgent guitar histrionics – any attempts at axe wankery are more for flare, keeping the pop side from taking over completely. This balancing act is maintained throughout, but nowhere does it work better than on opener "Teenage Love Made Me Insane," which might be the song title of the year. "What You Call Love is a Lie" similarly shines, with its driving rhythm carrying the tale of one-night stands. Though all these elements may be classic tropes, the High Dials keep them fresh. (Rainbow Quartz)