The High Violets - Heroes and Halos

by Jim Harris Rating:9 Release Date:2016-04-01

Lest we forget the glory days of shoegaze and dream-pop, we can count on the High Violets to carry the torch. And they do it so well. They have been around for over a decade and with Heroes and Halos, they prove they are not only significantly carrying on this tradition but also settling comfortably into their own way of doing things.

With the first five songs, Kailtlyn ni Donovan’s voice, which is something between Elizabeth Frazier’s (Cocteau Twins) and the good witch of the west from The Wizard of Oz, dominates the almost pure and simple category of dream-pop, with a handful of wonderful love songs and beautifully executed pop songs. ‘Dum Dum’ is the showcase tune among these gems and one can only muse as the whether she is, with the spelling and lyrics, showing Dee Dee from the Dum Dum Girls how it’s truly done, or whether it's just an homage to the Vaselines or just referring to the ‘Dum Dum Boys’ Iggy Pop.  Regardless, it is a brilliant example how well Donovan can craft a catchy, beautiful dreampop song.

But when the album gets to the title track, Heroes and Halos, there is a wonderful easing nicely into the shoegaze arena.  The guitars get louder, the reverb and shimmer increases, and Donovan’s voice becomes more a significant contribution than a focal point.  And this makes the album even better.  High Violets have never been a band to shy away from the grandeur of shoegaze and with each song past the first five, this is truly evident.  They also sneak in a couple acoustic numbers that shine as well.  In short, this album is a pleasant mixture of just damn good music.

Heroes and Halos have the High Violets at the top of their game and coming out of the 90s, where it seemed this genre was in for a rough go of it, this band reaffirms the vitality of this genre as well as any band out there.

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