Hawaii-based singer-songwriter and rapper Ryan Higgins brings his urban, island-infused style into soulful, groovy alternative pop songs under his musical moniker Higgs. Previously performing for another band, Higgs has been operating solo for two years and released his debut album The Letdown in June of 2016.
The record begins with “Worry,” a paradoxically positive tune with a solid, driving beat underlying harmonious acoustic riffs and smooth vocals. The introspective lyrics of this song, tinted with hope, are carried by Higgs with both his singing and his rapping, something he manages to fit into his songs with ease, even in the tropical “Living On the Rock,” a slow reggae jive that bring out Higgs’s Hawaiian roots.
The island tone continues with “The Letdown,” a track featuring whistling, ukulele and light percussion that provide a full background for the emotive vocals of the wistful song. In juxtaposition to its edgy title, “Hoodie Love” is arguably the most melodic and catchiest song on the entire album, and its warm vocals and swelling instruments create a beautiful, swaying atmosphere around the song.
The album takes a slightly more mellow turn with “Pieces of Hope” with Higg’s acoustic guitar leading the way through thoughtful lyrics, relaxed percussion and falsetto background vocals in an ethereal chorus. Light ukulele strumming takes the spotlight in “Run with the Wind,” a soft piece that combines classic chord progressions with expressive singing and delicate harmonies.
“Bonedry” brings the record to a close with a moving spoken word intro, which gives way to a subdued, yet dynamic chorus and an instrumental outro. This reflective track puts the entire album into perspective, giving shape to the many ideas and feelings that Higgs communicates through his music. As a whole, The Letdown is a glance into Higgs’s ability and talent in the field of music.
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