Australia native and Brooklyn based band, the High Highs released their latest album, Cascades late last year.
Filled with dreamy-pop tracks and ethereal male voices, Cascades is very similar to their previous album, Open Season. The first few times I listened to this album, I didn’t find it quite so captivating. I went to see the High Highs live, and that’s when I was able to appreciate the level of musicality it requires to produce an album of such subtle qualities.
The album starts with the beautifully composed song, “Boxing” which features a slow and steady drone in the low register of the synth keyboard, bass drum and bass guitar, with echoing guitar triad pings, lush melodies and Oooh-ing vocals followed by the pronounced line, “feel it in my bones.” Its slow and stunning. The pace quickens with “Cascades,” the album title track, as well as “Ocean to City” and “Vision” which draw inspiration to Wild Nothing’s earlier songs. One of my favorites, “How Could You Know” features a variety of rhythms and sections and an ’80’s influence, particularly in the bridge/outro accompanying the line “It’s time, it’s falling rain.” “Catch the Wind,” “London, After the Rain,”and “Fastnet” are ballads a-la ’80’s, featuring more “oooh-ing” or dreamy repetitive vocals in the choruses, and “Movement” keeps the tempo slow, but is lost amongst the more interesting tracks. “Sun” is another one of my favorites off the album. The instrumental break down in the middle of the song, is beautifully done, and can easily be stuck in one’s head.
The songs mostly blend together, as most have similar qualities like the “oooh-ing” before and in the chorus, the slow tempo, and the ’80’s inspired beat. The tracks that captivated me most successfully were slightly more upbeat, and featured a more prominent guitar line than the typical dreamy sound wash.The overall vibe of Cascades is spending a hot summer night outdoors, just swaying as the warm breeze runs (or Cascades!) through you. Feel it in your bones here: