Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
We're taken somewhere that has no seasons, just bat droppings and a continual proprietorship by a darkness that harbors Caribbean dreams - of salty margaritas and rum punch bowls with pink straws jutting out from them as if they were inviting, yet hollow slides. There is a residual drip-dripping of moisture from the ceiling, from the fangs of stalactites and stalagmites, creating a cool breeze of slippery, interloping water, set to remain underground and stagnant for all of eternity, as luck would have it. Down here, where we happen to be courtesy of High Places, is our temporary chill pad. It's a cavernous rock formation that produces some of the plunking-est echoes and everything feel as if were coming out of an airplane hangar or a chamber of secrets, delivering the goods with a strong sort of distanced accent, as if there were four hundred pillows between the mouth and amplifier of origin and the ears on the receiving end. Rob Barber and Mary Pearson - the two dreamers from which the music comes from - asked and received more water in the vocal and musical treatment in this very recording session as the sound took on even more of the cave sensation. Pearson's vocals, already very subdued on the band's official release, here are allowed even more gauze and even more of the foggy misdemeanor that gives them the aliases of indiscriminant origin, as if they were the result of tricks of time and space, getting beamed to us from the outer spans of the universe or from somewhere in the future that all convention would suggest hasn't happened yet. They do not assume any of the qualities of a voice or words coming as us out of the same room, maybe even just a few feet away. Barber's delayed beats and his little bursts of tropicality are all over the production of the band's self-titled album, making for a world of demented - though also rootsy and folk-ish - island music for those island dwellers dead-set on getting to those woozy moments when paranoia and confusion shower over in hot spades. The tropical element to the band's sound is a kooky phenomenon as it doesn't seem to suggest beach blankets, waves aplenty and copious amounts of sunshine, but a secluded place that was never all that high, just accessible and available. It's there, deep into the covered up earth from the above ground, that Barber and Pearson (both of whom appear to have some kind of ancestral connection to sailing and nautical themes) feather their mystifying numbers with the kinds of sounds that enflame thoughts that are completely wordless, but based in a frame of mind that likes it mushy, that enjoys a good soaking rain and sitting in those clothes while huddled beneath an awning or other covering, ready to make a run for it through a downpour. They bring out that warm rain, the kind that people don't necessarily mind and they drench everything in the drink.
High Places Official Site
Thrill Jockey Records