The comparison is so obvious that it has to be discussed right up front: the Dials often sound freakishly similar to their contemporaries in shaggy, shambling neo-psychedelia. the Coral, although with a greater emphasis on country-rock twang at the expense of the Liverpool band's regular nods to early ska. In fact, if anything the Dials may be even more voracious in their genre-hopping, skipping blithely from a Joe Meek style surfing-in-space instrumental introduction through a few trippy freakbeat-inspired pop songs to a cracking slice of Mekons-like punk honky tonk ("Pontius Pilate at Kmart") and an aggressive Mod-ish rocker, "Being Born," powered by a squealing organ riff. And then even that moves into another instrumental, "Where Did Our Love Go?," (not that one) that recalls those Georgie Fame-like soul instrumentals that Mick Talbot used to slip onto Style Council albums, complete with horn section. The spinning wheel of influences gets to be a bit wearying about two-thirds of the way through The Dials, so much so that even a nifty Syd Barrett pastiche like the goofily childlike "The Coracle" or a cool pedal steel-powered pop song like "Lay Down Your Heavy Load" sounds a bit like a parlor trick. The Dials are undeniably talented, and there's a handful of excellent tunes on their debut album, but the lack of focus on this lengthy, overstuffed album works against its ample charms.
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason