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ISSUE 22 | Reviews: High Places’ High Places vs. Mankind by 20watts

High Places's High Places vs. Mankind: ""

Part of our Issue 22 coverage!
WE GIVE IT: 14/20 Watts
PREVIEW: CLICK here to visit High Places‘s Myspace

Rob Barber and Mary Pearson continue to show their love for layering with High Places Vs. Mankind. In this latest release, the duo use techno-pop music and soft, whimsical lyrics to deal with a wide spectrum of topics. Relationships, death, geography and addiction are all equal fodder for the lyrical content of High Places’ songs, with the album as a whole urging listeners to realize that things aren’t always what they seem.

Opening track “The Longest Shadows” sets the tone for the nine songs that follow. Mary’s voice dances subtly over the playful yet mysterious beat, in turn giving the track an ominous sound. Halfway through, the lyrics take a more mischievous turn and reveal the main message of the album: situations that seem familiar or safe might soon venture into dangerous territory. “She’s a Wild Horse” follows this theme, and though the track starts out sounding like a church hymn, it quickly shifts tone, blaspheming its tameness with an optimistic rock-reggae cocktail.

Elsewhere on the album, High Places show off their musical versatility. “The Cannon,” curiously titled for a village in New South Wales, Australia, is a simple instrumental track that evokes a sense of pleasant solitude. Musically, High Places also display their versatility on “On a Hill in a Bed on a Road,” which explores the aesthetic of Erykah Badu’s hip-hop. While “Drift Slayer” takes a more classically-inspired orchestral approach. Ultimately while High Places may seem uncertainly grounded in their sound, High Places Vs. Mankind is actually thoughtfully layered in a way meant to express the challenging stages and dynamics of all human relationships.

BY Dana Rose Falcone

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