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Album reviews
Artist:
Highs
Album:
Dazzle Camouflage
Release year:
2016
Label:
Self-released
08 September 2016 / by Devan Glover (author)

It was a warm May afternoon, and I was standing in the beating sun on a rooftop in downtown Toronto watching Highs perform their new album ‘Dazzle Camouflage’, which was released in April 2016, by Indica Records. The upbeat, dance- pop tunes were the perfect soundtrack to the start of summer, with dreamy electric guitar at the forefront of the vibrant album, paired with melodic male/female lead vocals.

The Toronto-based alt-pop band is made up of 5 members - Doug Haynes (Vocals/Guitar), Karrie Douglas (Vocals/Keys), Joel Harrower (Guitar), Paul Vroom (Bass), and Liam Cole (Drums), and together they have managed to break the boundaries of the typical ‘synth-pop’ genre, which has become increasingly popular and saturated throughout recent years. They manage to stand in a league of their own by combining all the best elements of indie-rock, alt-pop, and folk music to define their unique sound.

The lead single ‘I Do, Do You?’, opens the album tenaciously, setting the stage for what is to come in this consistently exciting and captivating 11-song LP. The album starts out with Haynes’ floating melodic vocals, which are immersed in tasteful reverb, giving the song a whimsical, otherworldly feel. As Douglas’ voice enters in the pre- chorus, the harmonious vocals contrast perfectly with punchy bass lines and driving percussion, blending to create a unique and intriguing sound. It is indie-pop music that exists outside the box - it still holds the ability to make you want to dance, whilst feeling very authentic and original.

Highs have been described to “blend all the best parts of Vampire Weekend, Local Natives, and Dirty Projectors”. Foals is also a common comparison, which does not come as a surprise, as the album was produced by Like Smith (Foals/Depeche Mode).
‘Portugal’ stands out as my favourite song on the album, having an upbeat nature, and a greater focus on the colourful, high-register electric guitar riffs.

The second half of the album demonstrates the bands’ versatility with a slightly darker, more experimental tone than the first half.
‘Interlude’ showcases the incredibly talented vocal abilities of Haynes and Douglas, while ‘Gold Teeth’ demonstrates the bands’ slightly more melancholic side, showing that they can do more than just get you dancing.

Ironically, Highs reveal their true colours in Dazzle Camouflage through vibrantly upbeat instrumentation, reflective lyrics, and beautiful vocals, setting the stage for the exciting future of this young band. 

The author

Devan Glover

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