In the early noughties, four suburban Canadians released a debut album weirdly out of step with its era.
While indie peers were salivating over the arch cool of the Strokes or the ponderous guitars of Radiohead, the High Dials had seemingly stepped out of an alternate universe where the softer, janglier sounds of 60s groups like the Zombies and Byrds were king.
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.
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!
So dial up the jangle, declare your devotion, and enjoy what Tinnitus recently called “a timeless (and near flawless) bit of magic.”
by The High Dials