Thursday, July 24, 2008

CD Review: High Places EP

1) Head Spins
2) Sandy Feat
3) Banana Slugs/Cosmonaut
4) Shared Islands
5) Universe
6) Greeting the Light
7) Granola
8) Freaked Flight
9) Jump In
10) Canary
Ethereal.  Eclectic.  Those words, better than any genre label, describe High Places.
Their sound is an unusual blend of old and new.  On disc and especially on stage, electronic gear is key, since the duo's multi-instrumentalist Rob Barber can only do so much at once.  But the riffs take inspiration from musics of the globe.
The E.P.'s opener, "Head Spins" sets the tone for the disc's remainder and serves as a fine introduction to the band.  The pounding beat, supplemented with clicks and a steelpan, brings the exotica of the Caribbean to the duo's studio in Brooklyn.  Top these psychedelic sounds with Mary Pearson's simply sweet voice, and the music will indeed take you to high places.
The next track "Sandy Feat" is something of a departure, with a back beat recalling the techno of Europe and the states.  Another highlight is "Banana Slugs/Cosmonaut" and its brief moment of a capella, followed by a chorus of Marys and the push of a jungle-inspired instrumental.  The children's sing-along "Jump In" proves that this duo can do pop without losing their élan.
These guys have a unique style and plenty of charm, but I'd like to see them branch out on future work, like all great artists.  This E.P. collects much of what they've done so far, serving as a starting point for both the artists and the listeners.  I'm looking forward to the band's future, and I'm glad I got Mary's signature before they drop their L.P. and explode.
**** out of five


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