Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Higher State New 45 on State Records

Like the proverbial prodigal son, The Higher State return to State Records after an absence of almost six years (the group gave the label its inaugural release – the now long-out-of-print ‘And In Time’ 7”) and they're back with a vengeance!! These two new sides burn with an intensity that’s so often absent from today's spineless rehashes, offering a cavalcade of cluster and stomp straight outta the West Coast, circa ’66.

The Higher State’s purist ’60s punk obsessed lineage reaches right back to the early ’90s when as members of The Mystreated Marty and Mole toured all over the world, released five albums and recorded sessions for BBC Radio 1. Eight years into their latter day career as The Higher State alongside a relatively steady roster of players – including garage teen legend Paul Messis on bass and the superb guitarist and harmony vocalist Dan Shaw – the band continue to impress with their dynamic songwriting and edge. Call it garage-punk, call it folk-rock, call it psychedelic, call it what you want; stuff it into the nearest and most convenient pigeonhole you can find; box it, label it, file it away, but first… LISTEN.

Whilst fads come and go The Higher State stick with their key inspiration of mid-60s West Coast folk-rock, garage-punk and the golden greats Love, The Byrds and The 13th Floor Elevators. If they weren’t so bloody good you could call it a pastiche or homage to a bygone era, but their songs are their own, their musical quirks distinct to themselves. Anyway, all high-falluting indie bands and artists today reference something. Nothing’s new. It’s just that so much that gets regurgitated in the face of fashion just ain’t that good.

Although ‘Potentially (Everyone Is Your Enemy)’s’ title may sound more like a Crass song, it’s actually reminiscent of the California sound circa Surrealistic Pillow where fuzz, jangle and melody live in perfect harmony. ‘All Ties That Bind’ opens with a ringing guitar line right from the Stones’ ‘Last Time’ before the song moves into a spiritual cautionary tale of not playing it by the rules whilst the musical passages throw in both post-surf guitar parts and jangly folk-rock joy… and it’s all over in little more than a minute and a half.

As psychedelia looks set to be the biggest thing this summer let The Higher State wash over you. These ain’t no new young white hopes or pretenders, it’s the real deal. As the minions move onto something new I assure you the State will continue to develop and further their take on the genre. If a fan of old, you know them. If getting “turned on” for the first time you need them.

Potentially (Everyone Is Your Enemy)

Potentially (Everyone Is Your Enemy) / All Ties That Bind
State Records / Sandgate Sound Acetate
70g vinyl single
Release Date: 22nd July 2013

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