HIGH DOWN came into existence last year, and some may have thought, oh it’s another British pop-punk band, but they are proving themselves to be anything but. Their first single, Family & Fiends helped them secure performances at Butserfest and Seasick Festival, and now, they’re back with their hard-hitting debut EP, Moving On.
Moving On’s first track Against The Tide delivers some home truths about fighting for what you want and taking a stand in your life, coupled with catchy guitar riffs that ebb and flow with Luke Smithson’s vocals. They’ve cited BLINK 182 as one inspiration and that comes through both lyrically and musically, both paying homage to one of the great pop-punk bands, and using their discography as a springboard to creating their own sound.
Next is All On You, it’s determined introduction opens up to honest lyrics of a difficult situation that’s often hard to admit the truth about, but are relatable “Don’t try to say sorry, it’s too late”. Smithson catches our attention by alternating his singing style from the quickly sung repeated refrain “You’ve gotta lot of nerve, you’ve got a lot of spine” to the shouted word “dead” and more. Energetic, angsty guitars back him up throughout the track, and the whole EP, slowing down where appropriate creates a well rounded and developed sound.
Catchy choruses is one thing HIGH DOWN seem to have mastered, demonstrated in Life Lessons, “You never give give give, you only take take take away.” Not only is it memorable, but encourages singing along to the track. Life Lessons has an accompanying music video of a selfish boyfriend to support the lyrics, which perfectly fits with the musical timings in the song. All throughout the EP classic pop-punk traits shine through, from teenage heartbreak, to dramatic pauses in the guitars, and chanted choruses and Making History is no exception. HIGH DOWN understand when to belt out a lyric, and when to hold back, gently delivery and elongated words hitting harder.
Rescue Me brings the EP to a close with an acoustic track, a cheerful and charming song which warms the heart and is a break away from their other more hard-hitting lyrics. “I was drowning here without you but I’m not anymore”. It also introduces a currently unnamed female vocalist who sings the responses. HIGH DOWN show us their gentler side, the love story before the heart break of the other songs.
HIGH DOWN‘s sound is that of a young band, they have a way to go, but their talent shines through in memorable lyrics, melodic riffs, and infectious drums. They have drawn from bands currently dominating the genre so their music feels familiar, even when listening for the first time. They’ve hit every item on the check-list of creating a classic pop-punk EP, will they continue on that path, or create a new wave of pop-punk?
Moving On is due for release 1 September 2017.
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