The Brooklyn-based duo High Places are most often compared to Beat Happening, a band cherished for their regression-- into musical primitivism, adolescent sexuality, and any other condition that twenty- and thirtysomethings bemoan the loss of in therapy. High Places' indulgence in nursery rhymes aside, the kinship is mostly an ideological one: Like Beat Happening, they exult in the simple.
03/07 - 09/07, a collection of the band's first 7" and stray compilation tracks (released through the mp3 subscription service eMusic), shows a group whose comfort zone isn't the folky imperative, but heady, hippyish imprecision. The songs here are almost all identical: polyrhythmic miniatures built by small drums and shakers, clouded by blankets of echo and reverb; deliberately basic structures; short, and in their own way, catchy and pretty. Rhythms suggest provinces a step removed from where other white, arty urbanites tend to dwell: There are flashes of soca, reclined bounces that remind me of Indian music, and though "Sandy Feat"'s swing could be Tom Petty's "American Girl" or David Bowie's "Modern Love", they inflect it they way Brazilian bands like Os Mutantes did (or Paul Simon on Rhythm of the Saints).
High Places' trunk-rattling impulses are juxtaposed with a spacious, almost tranquil atmosphere, with Rob Barber's percussion chiming and floating rather than physically hitting, and Mary Pearson's sweetly flat vocals layered to the point that her lyrics often become indistinguishable. That blur makes High Places' music hypnotic: Pearson chatters away like a light-headed kid on the playground on one song and intones a mantra on the next, and it's only then that you notice how both forms operate on the same principle: repetition induces calm.
Official Website: http://www.triplerocksocialclub.com/shows/
Added by panoptican on September 19, 2008