At some point in a band’s career there is a noticeable shift from a sort of musical adolescence to the comfort and confidence of maturity. High Places have clearly reached their maturity with their latest record, Original Colors. Please note that this level of maturity in no way translates to boring or tired. On the contrary; High Places have stripped away a lot of the excess of youth and distilled their sound down to its most necessary form.
Original Colors is a ghostly after-hours dance record. It’s the kind of album you want to listen to on a late night drive through the city. If you’ve only heard High Places early work you might be surprised by this record. Gone are the overt international influences and the beats are less bombastic here. Mary Pearson’s voice, however, remains perfect, filling these songs with a gentle sound of quiet urgency. In her own measured way, Pearson drives these songs forward while the beats and rhythms act like vibrating, shaking pebbles slowly advancing the vocals through each song. “Dry Lake” and “Banksia” are pretty incredible songs, but this is really an album you need to enjoy as a whole.
Original Colors has an allure not seen on High Places’ previous work. These songs are not obviously present, but they are always lurking, just waiting for you to pay attention. When you do notice this record it will pull you in and quickly take over. Original Colors is a sleeper hit and certainly one of the unheralded gems of the year.
High Places – “Year Off” [MP3]
Purchase Original Colors via Thrill Jockey