The PhiLL(er)

Flex Time Cover
The Dials

Flex Time
Latest Flame Records

I've tried hard to come up with some sort of clever introduction to this review of The Dials' album Flex Time, but after a lot of thinking, I think there is only way to get started and that's by simply telling you that I love the damn album. The Chicago quartet doesn’t fill the album's thirty-five minutes (forty-three if you count the extended silence following "High Tide") with anything unnecessary and manage to fit fourteen tracks of energy and attitude within this brief span of time.

Ranging anywhere from an all-out aggressive attack to a carefree jaunt down bubblegum lane, The Dials manage to exude a certain amount of sass throughout the album. Powered forward by the drumming of Doug Meis which can go from controlled to chaotic in less than four bars, Rebecca Crawford and Patti Gran lure you in with call and response, vocal harmonies, and an overpowering confidence. The keyboards of Emily Dennison bolster the songs' melodic structures and provide The Dials with that extra something that distinguishes the group from your everyday guitar/bass/drums lineup.

If you're someone afraid to get a little active while listening to an album, you might want to stay away from Flex Time. No matter how hard you try the infectious nature of the songs will likely lead to some foot-tapping and head-bobbing followed by a serious case of jumping about that may also be called dancing.

Post-Review Note: The Dials' drummer Doug Meis was killed in a tragic car accident on July 14, 2005. The band continues on despite this tremendous loss in honor of his life and what they believe he would have wanted.