Sunday, 17 July 2016

The Higher State – Volume 27


Folksiness, Farfisa and fuzz guitar on fifth LP from Kent's garage stalwarts!


The Higher State's fifth long-player is on store shelves now (or more accurately available to order online) and does not dissappoint. Ten years into their tenure the band is now distilled to a three-piece; Marty Ratcliffe on guitar/vocals/organ, Paul Messis on bass/guitar and Scarlett Rickard on drums. With the writing split between Ratcliffe and Messis.

The touchstones of The Byrds, Love and The Electric Prunes are here to satisfy the faithful, but despite their love of US garage the band have a distinctly (English) personality of their own. To call Volume 27 a protest album may be a step too far but there is a state-of-the-nation thread that runs though the record.

Musically there's folksiness, Farfisa and fuzz guitar, with production values geared towards treble-friendly AM radio. The ear-splitting guitar solos and frantic drumming are balanced by the gentler folk-rock type tracks which helps hold it together as an album. (Unlike a lot of garage LPs which all too often sound like a cobbled together collection of A and B-sides)

For a musical form that was supposedly crystalised and archived on Lenny Kaye's Nuggets compilation it comes across here as in pretty good shape and the perfect tool to kick against thepricks of today.

To paraphrase The Who - “Garage rock is dead they say. Long live garage rock!”

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Click here for 13 O'clock Records.