Aesthetically speaking, Dial is an enduring antidote to the surface-level sound bites, careerist trickery, and dry academia that often pass for ?experimental? music in 2012. For approximately two decades, this insular trio has been flourishing in a golden vacuum. Drifting between London, NYC, and rural France, the nomadic band survives by releasing guerrilla recordings whenever the mood strikes and circumstances permit. Grainy riffs, semi-improvised motifs, and blown-fuse electronics stutter and churn behind vocals that tremble on the cusp of volatility. Long fascinated by this raw and solipsistic approach, Ektro jumped at the chance to midwife Dial's exceptional fourth album, Western Front.
Eighties post-punk archeologists might choose to focus on the group's eminent lineage. Singer and guitarist Jacqui Ham is one third of Ut, the recently reactivated no-wave colossus whose influential catalog will see reissue via Robert Hampson's Reactor label. Guitarist and drum programmer Rob Smith contributed to the unholy racket of God, while multi-instrumentalist Dominic Weeks was a founder of the inimitable Furious Pig and the eccentric, percussive Het.
Although spiritually simpatico with no wave's discordant ethos, Western Front is hardly some nostalgic rehash. An amalgam of shattered rock, freeform noise gnashes, and low-tech mayhem, Dial's corrosive swamp ebbs and flows with rich, unexpected hues. Savor the tooth-grinding catharsis of ?Helium," the trash-beat loops of "Let's Forget," or the spectral recitation of "Calibrate" and tune in to the precise frequency of occidental collapse.
Jordan N. Mamone, New York City October 18, 2012