Higher Music State – ‘Overboard’

Overboard stirs with a rousing rock sound from Higher Music State. The band — based in London, Oxford, and Liverpool — show well across a variety of styles. The album showcases a range of dynamic, spirited rock compositions from the get-go, while also strutting soulful and laid-back soundscapes later on, like the balmy brass-touched jazzy pop of “Principles of Cliff Jumping.”

The project impresses with both charged-up rock anthems and dreamier, psych-friendly turns. The album kicks off in the former vein. A title-touting refrain pairs with expressive guitar wails on “Slide off and Die,” a commanding opener. The second half plays with ardent, scorching qualities as a blazing-hot guitar solo takes hold. Higher Music State’s energetic rock chops are on full display here, while efforts like “Eiderdown” cast a dreamier, introspective caressing with breezy vocal harmonies gliding into a soaring, anthemic brightness.

Also appealing is the brass and acoustical intermingling on “Don’t Forget the Love,” reminding fondly of Danny Wilson’s sophisti-pop charm as the organs kick in. Elsewhere, “Slide Rule” touts a charismatic power-pop infectiousness; its immediacy and various vocal layers make for ample replay inducement. Overboard is a blast of an album, pairing rousing rockers and power-pop charm, from Higher Music State.

“Slide off and Die” and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of December 2023’ Spotify playlist.

The track is also featured in the genre-based, best-of Spotify compilation Emerging Indie Rock.

We discovered this release via MusoSoup, as part of the artist’s promotional campaign.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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