Thursday, March 27, 2014

High Spirits: You Are Here (2014)

A Subtle, but Important Distinction

The first few times I listened to High Spirits, I thought, "Man, that guy sounds like Chris Black, but better." By sheer coincidence, it is Chris Black.

Dawnbringer has no doubt made a strong impression on you with their last couple of releases. The mastermind isn't done yet. High Spirits is not a huge departure, and it's going to be tough to draw the right distinction in words alone. It's just different enough to justify using a different band name. Like its name suggests, it's a little more feel-good, a little more happy-time. Well, not always happy, just a little less dark. As my 6th-grade teacher used to say, "Clear as mud?"

Of course, I'm sure you'd be perfectly happy with another Dawnbringer album. Don't worry, you'll like this too. And you'll agree that it's not a Dawnbringer album.

Less aggressive and more stripped-down, the melody shines through quite a bit more. And, get this: Chris Black can actually sing. Freed of the affectations of his more aggressive work, he uses a natural voice. His vocal melodies become a huge draw on You Are Here.

The basslines are strong ("I Need Your Love"), and so are the riffs ("High Spirits"). The leads as well ("When the Lights Go Down"). But it's the vocal melodies that I caught myself singing the next morning ("The Last Night"). This sticks in my head even more than greats like "You Know Me," and sometimes you just need some good-times music.

But it's not all good-times music. You just won't be murdering the sun.

The Verdict: 4.5 out of 5 stars


Hells Headbangers

1 comment:

  1. High Spirits are great. Haven't listened to this album much but I've been running Another Night pretty hard.

    When I first heard them I had the same "that dude sounds like the dude from Dawnbringer" reaction too.

    I love them.