A New High is a band formed of three reunited members of past band, High Street, that played together in the 80s. They wanted to create music for the sake of creating music and leave all the drama and tension of their younger days behind. Their debut EP, So Cali Blue is a mixture of old-school surf rock, 60’s and 70’s rock and pop with a little 80's as well.
The album started with “What I See” which has a mellow surf rock vibe with smooth rhythmic guitars and a peaceful feel. The vocals are reminiscent of 70’s folk rock and the lyrics felt spiritual and a little mystical. The second track, “Beach Break” is a purely instrumental song that had more of an Indie rock feel but still had a surf rock foundation with a very pretty melodic sound.
The album took a different turn with “Dance in Your Fantasy” which reminded me of 80’s pop with synths and an odd vocal melody. It was definitely a completely different style than the first two songs but still worked within the context of the band. That same vibe continued with “Delfina” which reminded me slightly of the B52s because of its goofy lyrics and overall lighthearted feel. The next two songs “Sleep Awake” and “All Out of Sorrys” had a similar vibe as well.
“Inside Out” was a little bit different than the other tracks. It’s dark vibe and fast paced beat blended into theatrics and intensity, it almost reminded me of a song from Rocky Horror Picture Show. That’s probably why it was my favorite track on the record. The theatrical quality continued with “Make Up Your Mind” which is a fun track with a goofy melody and lots of guitar. “I wish I Could Tell You” was back to the old-school surf rock vibe but had marching-band-like drums and lots of harmonies in the vocals.
Things got weird with “Crab Cave” which I’m pretty sure was a love song to a crab. It was a funny lighthearted track with a Devo meets the B52’s vibe. I really enjoyed it even though it didn’t make much sense to me. “Summer of 17” was another light instrumental surf track that was a nice break from the dramatic feel of the previous songs. The album ended with “Do You Ever Wonder” which was a slower tempo, dark almost creepy sounding track with raspy ominous sounding vocals and slow melodic verses. The lyrics about wondering how everything will turn out made it a perfect ending track.
So Cali Blue is an eclectic mix of rock, pop and theatrical tracks that make it a really interesting fun listen. A New High is obviously a group of well-seasoned musicians who love what they do and aren’t afraid to experiment with new sounds or blend old ones. I really enjoyed it and look forward to future work.
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