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The High Strung

Paper Thin Records, 2012


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


There’s an uncontained energy coming out of Detroit in the form the quartet known as The High Strung. The band manages to keep their guitar wailing and high octane rowdiness up to par on this, their seventh album. An outfit that bypass all the attempts at genre defying and the unusual niches their peers are trying to package themselves as, The High Strung are a straight-up guitar rock animal, plucking minor influences from all sides of the rock ‘n’ roll spectrum.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

With an extremely catchy rhythm section intact (the drummer and bassist have been working together for 10+ years), expect arena rock thundering, well-timed guitar solos and rapid fire drumming to hold these tunes together. The Motor City rockers take a very ‘60s spirit, à la the pre-Tommy Who era.  The songs are quick and to the point; there is no noodling or aimless wandering to be found here. Meanwhile, they subtly add in some Beach Boys-esque pop, traces of blues guitar work, and even an organ on “Brain K” and keys on “Single_Alone.” “Rats Rats Rats” is perhaps the disc highlight, approaching psych rock, but never unnecessarily complicating their time honored formula. Frontman Josh Malerman has an interesting perspective with his lyrics, and even if you’re not quite sure what he’s singing about, you’re bound to be hanging on every word.

Though they existed in relative obscurity for a decade, last year Showtime picked up the band’s song “The Luck You Got,” a power pop gem, for the William H. Macy series Shameless. Not too shabby for a band who once did a tour of libraries that went as far as Guantanamo Bay and who laid to rest their tour van of four straight years on the steps of the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall Of Fame in Cleveland.  And really, how could you not like a band with a song titled “Sometimes It’s Odd Sometimes It’s Like God”?

Rating: B+

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© 2012 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Paper Thin Records, and is used for informational purposes only.