The lowdown is watch for Frank Ocean to flow beneath the next HIGHS music you hear. Or perhaps the eclecticism of Bon Iver. The HIGHS are open for engagement with the world and their collective gatherings imbue their sounds with a personal yet wide reaching sensibility.
They landed with a jingle when they dropped the Tanzanian Afropop framed EP. The debut full length album Dazzle Camouflage follows up on that particular soundscape, one very much a discovery of each other as musicians, singers, voices, lives and concerns. Dazzle is a band album.
Subsequent tours and performances allowed them to explore beyond their immediate boundaries, most importantly musically. The folk-melodic undercurrents main songwriter Haynes carries within him from his seminal years attending festivals, Hillside in particular, are married with the Radiohead/Fleetwood Mac wranglings of Joe Harrower, but add time and energy, experiments, and an ease, a wilful ignorance of charts and the game, and its wide open what they will deliver, maybe a kid eh?
But the frame is only the beginning for HIGHS, they are out in the world absorbing, each day, each new experience triggering a trajectory in their music. They are approaching their first European tour, stops in Paris France and Berlin Germany, marvelling at the way in which their bedroom pop songs have carried them across the world and eagerly anticipating a full-on reassessment of who they are and what they will make as a band, what will Paris make of them and give them, what of Berlin? Will they walk away with an embarrassement of stories ready for melodies as Haynes did when he visited Tanzania. And what of personal growth, a swirling 360 grand tour of history, what do you become from wandering the same streets as Bowie and Baudelaire?
Over the summer HIGHS wandered and wandered into the smallest of streets in Dawson City, the annual fest way up there in the beyond of most folk’s ken, the Yukon, where the sun seemingly never sets or conversely never rises, where the whole we’re in it together is exactly that, Dawson is the village of this global village of ours, this planet, its all of us in the landscape, its marks one and it marked Haynes, literally in the tattoo sense but also in his heart.
Its a thing to come off tour and be at a loss, buts its a thing more so when one found oneself on the tour and had to leave oneself behind, its a split, a wounding that may be sutured with music, who knows what will come straight out of Dawson, who knows who will head straight back to deeply northern Dawson?
HIGHS head out, stops around southern Ontario, around the GTA, soon and then its on the back of Dazzle Camouflage to find the others, who heard and called across the Atlantic.
Its curious Dazzle Camo was used to hide ships during the Wars, to obfuscate the enemy peering up periscoped from the deep, the jagged designs confusing the stranger beneath and yet the camo became art. And art becomes HIGHS. The trip will deliver new intrigues, new dazzlings, to wrap with brilliance and light and jangly jingly poptimism and gift back.
The gift may come floating by on a wave of Frank Ocean or it may be hidden in the cryptics of Bon Iver or it may come in the form of a Van Halen inspired remix, whatever catches HIGHS fancy in the van shared headphones or a taxi cab radio or the open window on the smallest of the smallest streets in a French suburb. HIGHS are alive to it all, tours end but the journey continues for life.