Whenever someone reviews a band from Las Vegas, they'll usually throw in a bit about how the music outshines the neon lights and glare of the slot machines, whether it be The Killers or less mainstream groups like Brown Eyed Deception and Panic! At The Disco. This is all good and well, but how many of those bands can actually put out an album promising enough to shift your focus from the casinos and topless revues? The Higher, if anyone, are one of them. They aren't just another group of five scrawny, long-haired guys in tight-fitting jeans and jackets. They have something simply incredible to share with the world, and this is made crystal clear in Histrionics.
         Fiddler Records seems to know a groundbreaking band when they hear and sign one. In addition to being the current record label of The Higher, Fiddler was also once home to The Bled and Dashboard Confessional. While the scream-thrash-destroy sound of The Bled is drastically different from the sugar-sweet heartbreaking Dashboard vibe, there's something they, and many other Fiddler bands, have in common. Their music is bursting at the seams with passion, and there are heartstrings woven into the threads that are barely holding those seams together. The Higher are no exception. They play what they mean and they mean what they play. So what exactly do they play?
         The Higher's music is characterized by soaring harmonies, and not just vocal-wise. The bass and the drums, the drums and the guitar, the guitar and the vocals, and the vocals and the bass are all perfect for each other. Instead of acting as an accompaniment, the instruments create more of a duet with the lyrics and singing. From the first track, "Diaries," to the last, "Pace Yourself," the band finds new ways with every note to keep you interested and alert. There's not one boring moment on the record, but the style is kept consistent; each song delivers stunningly with the touch of rocksome grace that only The Higher can bring. Fast-paced but not in the least bit hasty,
Histrionics is a nonstop run through a labyrinth that keeps you on your toes, eagerly awaiting to hear what The Higher have to give next.
         Since 2003, the band that was adored for their songwriting at the early age of 16 have put in a lot of hard work. Now they can take the same heartfelt sound from their
Star Is Dead EP and apply it to fresh new material with the ease of breathing. And indeed, every breath, every strum, every beat is pulsating with the sort of soul one only feels after years of practice and building certainty upon talent and an adolescent dream. The resulting product is extraordinary in every sense of the word. It's catchy but not saccharine, upbeat but not poppy, rock-out but not the kind that will leave your neck sore. It's at a very comfortable place in between and no one--least of all, those who listen--has any desire for it to be anywhere else.
         If there were words to describe the kind of album you close your eyes to hear, the kind you don't want the tangible world to taint and remind you that there was ever anything before or besides this shatteringly awesome sound... they would probably go here.
A.A. '05
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Fiddler Records
<< 1) Diaries >>
2) Histrionics
3) Rock My Body
4) Prepare For Something Else
5) In The Set
6) Case Closed
7) Gone With The Guillotine
8) Lo
9) Darkside
10) Valentine's Delay
11) From The Window To The Wall
12) Circle Of Death
13) Kalimist
14) Pace Yourself
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