The High Violets initially formed back in 1998. Today the group consists of Kaitlyn ni Donovan, Clint Sargent, Colin Sheridan and Luke Strahota. They recently released B-Sides & Rarities. They mention: “Eight songs on the album highlight the musical trajectory from their 1998 beginnings as a youthful, blissed out starry eyed shoegaze band to an impeccably produced addition of dream pop.”
As a big fan of the genre since the ’90s I can say this felt like authentic shoegaze to my ears. I grew up on bands like My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, The Jesus and Mary Chain and other like- minded acts. This album fits perfectly into that zeitgeist.
The album gets going with “Up Towards” and this song soars and is full of the criteria which define shoegaze. In typical shoegaze fashion this song is smothered in reverb with the vocals are guitars often combining to feel like a beautiful wave of white noise. The drumming is also quite good and keeps the momentum going.
Up next is “Chinese Letter (Demo)” which is another great song. The song is lush and also quite catchy. I loved the vocals, steady bass and shimmering guitars. ”Carry On” utilizes a little tremolo in the mix. This song is quite dynamic. There are hushed vocals at points where they sing “You carry on” but they also rock out to this same mantra.
“Gravity” is another standout track which is very ambient. There’s some exceptional mixing here with vocals peaking out against the guitars, bass and drums. The band is a little more grounded with “Invitation (Jeff Saltzman mix)” which felt like the most single worthy song on the album.
They rock out on “Sublime Maze” and this song had some killer lead guitar while the slower moving but warm “Ballad” is the arguable ballad in the batch. They close with a catchy tune that leans towards melancholy called “Altogether” but the message feels positive.
This is classic '90s shoegaze done by a band that needs more recognition. Their songs are well written and fans of the genre should love this. Listen and share this one.
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