The Higher

On Fire

Written by: TL on 07/03/2007 00:24:27

The mainstream attention to the emo and hardcore scenes is steadily increasing, and attempts to fuse new trends with fashionable styles have already been made and even become quite popular (Enter Shikari and 'Trancecore' anyone?). On the more quiet side of sound, soft emo has been more or less successfully fused with pop and hiphop, and scrambling to ride the bandwagon are the guys from the Vegas five-piece The Higher, who have recently released their sophomore effort "On Fire".

Anyone thinking that emo must necessarily have something to do with rock will have quite a surprise listening to this cd, as the genres it sounds like can be listed in order of significance as emo, R'n'B (!) and pop. Simple and discrete guitar chords lay the foundation upon which chilled but danceable beats float alongside a variety of effects, all topped by the feather-light vocalwork that can still fairly be described as emo. At first glance however, the whole trendy-hybrid-concept doesn't seem to be enough to add any noteworthy character to "On Fire". Once you've listened to it a bit you will however be drawn to especially "Weapons Wired", opening with latin-style guitars and horns and including a catchy chorus and some really nice hooks, straight down the alley of Cute Is What We Aim For, The Academy Is... and Fall Out Boy. On "Movement" the band delivers a ballad with an opening leading your thoughts toward Third Eye Blind and a chorus so angst filled and emo that it will probably end up being the number one attraction for all the CIWWAF fans who are pretty sure to like this band as well, if they give them a try. The good impression is then ruined though, as "Can Anyone Really Love Young" is a song so boring and.. Well quite frankly it sounds like something my grandmother would put on. Shivers!

While "Darkpop" attempts at a decent pop-punk expression and the charming and bouncy "DARE" accompanies it with the two other already mentioned highlights lifting the grade of "On Fire", nothing on this album will ever really be quite as interesting as stuff that's already been done by Panic!, CIWWAF, Motion City Soundtrack or other bands of this genre, and the remix of "Pace Yourself" by Patrick Stump never seems like anything but an excuse to namedrop him. If you're a fan of the emo-pop hybrid style you could check out The Higher, but this album on its own seems undeniably watered down and lacking in power and charm compared to recent similar ones

Download: Weapons Wired, Movement, DARE, Darkpop
For the fans of: Cute Is What We Aim For, Head Automatica, Hellogoodbye, Maroon 5
Listen: MySpace

Release Date 12.01.2007
Epitaph Records

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