High Dive

New Teeth

Written by: MIN on 28/01/2016 16:17:45

High Dive is a band from Bloomington, Indiana, playing a mix of poppy punk and indie rock. When listening to it, it’s hard not to draw comparisons to such artists as Modern Baseball or The Weakerthans (based on their song structures), but keep in mind that High Dive is very much a band of its own. It’s existed since 2010 where it consisted of only three members (during their debut LP), but has now grown into a five-piece releasing its second full-length, “New Teeth”.

The album’s first song, “Anything to Anyone”, opens up the field in which the band plays rather nicely, as it starts with a gentle keyboard, which you’ll find throughout most songs on the album, and vocals quietly introducing the listener to the band’s lyrical realm. The lyrical content on the album ranges from everyday loneliness, childhood and adolescence to unrequited love and the death of a friend, and the last line of the album-opener perfectly sums up most of the feelings captured on “New Teeth”. As the song progresses and adds layers of raucous guitars and louder vocals, the following quote leads into the final climax of a great start to the album: “I’ve found the best way to fight the emptiness is to pretend you don’t think about it every day.”

Most songs don’t follow the traditional “verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge, etc”-form that many mainstream rock bands tend to overuse. No, a large part of the tracks have a starting point which slowly builds up and adds layers, eventually leading to an instrumental climax or vocal catharsis. An example of this is displayed in the song “Equal and Opposite” which slowly starts by outlining a story through guitar, vocals and the subtle keyboard-melody. Shortly after, the bass and drums kick in as the guitar changes and gets more melodic. After about two minutes, it feels as if the song ends, but instead of ending, the intro starts over, even more up-beat than before, and suddenly the same song is playing – only this time, it’s a lot faster and has a change in sound and melody with added vocal duties from other band members. The drum pattern is faster, the guitar tabbing has changed its melody and the ending is extended.

Not every song strays from the traditional song structure though. “Coffee and Ice Water”, sung by guitarist Ginger Alford, is a lot faster than the rest of the album. It’s got some nice verses and a good chorus filled with some great guitar-picking, and in the bridge it manages to slow things down with a fading, almost crescendo-sounding guitar-playing, and some pounding drums that suddenly lets the chorus back in. The same chorus ultimately ends the song after having been repeated a few times, and a fading guitar and keyboard-melody leads into the next track.

Every track mentioned above is from the first half of the album, and there’s a reason for this: The second half simply isn’t as good. Lyrically, it’s still charming and features some heavy and well-described topics, but musically it feels less inspired and passionate. None of the songs are bad, but a lot of them are just forgettable. Exceptions include “Last Time in Lexington” and “Psalm”, but perhaps the biggest let down is the album closer “These are Days”. It has the potential to end on a high if only it was twenty or thirty seconds longer. Instead, it leaves your stomach only half-full. Besides that, the album is highly enjoyable and incredibly charming. The lyrics and mellow keyboard-melodies found on every song makes for a listen that feels ultimately satisfying, and here and there are nice rockers that are easy to sing along to. “New Teeth” is overall a great listen that should leave most fans of emotional indie rock with an edge long for more.

7

Download: Coffee and Ice Water, Equal and Opposite, The Letting Down I’ve Done
For The Fans Of: Defiance, Ohio; Modern Baseball; The Weakerthans
Listen: facebook.com/bloomingtonhighdive

Release date 21.07.2015
No Idea Records

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