The High Dials – Fields in Glass EP

The High Dials
Fields in Glass EP

The latest effort by Montreal’s faux-Britons The High Dials, Fields in Glass EP, is, in every sense of the word, an honest-to-goodness EP. To put it more succinctly, it’s short: only six songs plus a hidden track. To make matters worse, the title track is remixed three times on the EP. You could find fewer remixes on an R. Kelly single.

Originally, released on The Dials’ A New Devotion, Fields in Glass is pretty standard fair as Brit-pop goes. Okay, so it’s Canadian Brit-pop. Fine. The lyrics on “Fields” recall a vaguely psychedelic worldview that seemed anachronistic in the early 90s when Oasis first began proffering up rehashed Beatles tunes. When compared to Oasis as a band, on Fields in Glass The High Dials just don’t measure up. You can include Blur and Pulp in these comparisons, both of whom The High Dials’ sound is immediately reminiscent of. Oasis’ outspoken members, at the very least, had the gumption to believe they were the Beatles reincarnated; their albums came off as reverential and revamped homage struck through with honesty and loss. But Fields in Glass is so sugary and sweet it should be sold with a case of Crest.

Whether the title track is laid over Achtung Baby-era Brian Eno beats as on “Fields on Glass (Club Mix)” or put over a thumping squadron of house rhythms as on ”Fields on Glass (Stained Glass Mix),” the result is the same: a hazy feeling of super-happy-fun times, and not much else. Like the rest of the album, with the exception of the gee-guess-who-I’m-referencing sitar-laden instrumental “Things are Getting Better,” “Fields in Glass” isn’t a bad song. The melodies reveal a band who’s carefully structuring its music to achieve a certain Monkees-with-breakbeats allure, a task at which the band is clearly accomplished.

Besides the inherent problems associated with reminding anyone of the Monkees, the problem with this EP isn’t that there’s nothing good about it, it’s that it sounds like what so much of today’s Nostalgia Rock sounds like: a well-rehearsed step backwards. Strangely, you’re better off spending more money on the full-length High Dials album. Or just hold out for the “Fields in Glass (Thug Mix)” featuring R. Kelly.