The Higher is one of those bands that people are gonna love to hate or hate to love. I'm not gonna lie, I've already found my new guilty pleasure with their new disc "On Fire". It's a super catchy and poppy sounding album that is gonna be pretty controversial as soon as it hits the stores. I can already see this band plastered all over the television and have decided it's unavoidable. I've seen it plenty of times before, and the most recent case (before this) was Fueled by Ramen's Panic at the Disco. Before their album's release, I already saw how big they were getting on myspace and various sites of the same caliber and could only imagine what would come after the album hit streets. Now months later, we look back and see the hurdles PATD has already flown over and all of the controversy they've brought to the scene and can only wonder what's to come of this young band by the name of The Higher.
With only a couple of months before the band's expected flight through the billboard charts, I'm here to tell you that, this album is chock full of mainstream pop influenced song writing and structures. Many will buy into such an album and to be honest, I can't blame them. "On Fire" is for sure an album that'll get you up and out of your seat dancing with tracks such as their already popular "Histrionics" and "Rock my Body". But let me tell you, the buck doesn't stop there. In The Higher's Epitaph debut, you won't have to worry about running into another one hit (or two hit) wonder. Other tracks such as "Weapons Wired," "Movement," "DARE," and "Our Movies Rule" are just as dancy, satisfying, and fun as the forementioned pieces. Now don't worry some of you Jonezetta fans, the dancing doesn't stop there. Throughout the whole album you'll be satisfied with many other perfect examples of dancy tracks. Such tracks are "Insurance?," "Can Anyone Really Love Young," "Darkpop," and the Patrick Stump remix of "Pace Yourself". Each of these tracks are built off of a formulaic verse, chorus, verse, chorus, end song structure. But the simplicity of the song writing really doesn't wear off for it's first couple spins in your CD player. For those of you that don't buy into dance influenced pop punk, don't expect another Cartel rip off or anything of the sort, instead you're gonna be tuning into a Panic at the Disco/Jonezetta-esque sound. There I said it. I'd hate to draw out the PATD influence and turn some readers off, but it's pretty unavoidable. The band's song writing is really similiar to that, but without the Patrick Stump influenced vocal stylings of Fall Out Boy (even though he did do a remix on the album). In other parts of the album if you stripped the tracks of the vocals, you might feel as if you were listening to a B-side off of Maroon 5's album or even the Scene Aesthetic. But like I said the dancy sound is an abundant sound on "On Fire" and most of the tracks have that dancy feel to them.
Now like I said, this album I can already tell will be a tad bit controversial, much like "The Fever You Can't Sweat Out" was. But don't be afraid to dig in to this disc and have fun. It's sound could be looked at as cheesy by some, But damnit it's fun and if you're into listening to albums that make you want to dance, then this one goes out to you. I will note that this album has only taken a few spins around my CD player and the band's sound hasn't worn off yet. But with many albums of this style, I can already tell that it might not be a long lasting heavy hitter in my collection and could end up being an annoyance after over-exposure. Which could be the album's only downfall in the long-run. But if you listen to this album in doses and don't overplay it, you're sure to be hooked by this one for quite a while.
~ Drew English
January 07 2007