“Straight from the Heart” LP by High Road
Music, Pop Culture, Style/ Beauty

“Straight from the Heart” LP by High Road

Utilizing a pointed groove to emphasize the simplicity of their melodies in “There’s a River.” Drawing together otherwise perplexing thumps out of the ethers to form a casual rhythm in “Only in the Cross.” Dabbling in the best sort of overindulgence you can hope to find in a guitar-driven album in “Sing a Hallelujah.” Slapping us around with the very audacity of a signature harmony in “What If That’s What Heaven’s Like.”

URL: https://www.highroadmusic.com/

High Road mean business in their new album Straight from the Heart, and whether they’re binding raw emotion with refined melodicism or simply playing to the standards of a general that is head-over-heels in love with hybridity, they sound like a band on top of their game in every track here. Straight from the Heart is comprised of the distant bluegrass charms of songs like “There is a Rock,” affirming statements of both self and society in the likes of “Keep Your Lamps” and bruising faith poetry ala “Through You,” each one of its songs seemingly more elaborate than the one to come before it. Whether enjoyed on shuffle or from “When I Lift Up My Head” to “Working on a Building,” High Road’s new album is one that I encourage you to hear uninterrupted.

There isn’t a lot of brawn to “That’s What Love Is,” but this doesn’t stop the track from swinging a sweet groove with as much moxie behind the beat as one would hear in “Through You” or “Only in the Cross.” The vocals are especially fragile in a few spots, such as “What If That’s What Heaven’s Like” and “There’s a River,” but never without purpose. One of the worst elements of the new country I’ve been listening to in the last couple of months has been the abandonment of introspection in favor of purely observatory lyricism, but this is never the case in Straight from the Heart.

Between the aforementioned fragility of the vocal and the crunch of the guitars, there’s no escaping the vibe that surrounds every verse in this LP, but even if they had been presented in an isolated setting I still believe the poetry here would be noticeably stronger than the status quo. Artistry comes in many forms, and here it’s offered through a desire to be different that High Road refuses to compromise.

I hadn’t heard about this band before coming across this record, but judging from the ambitiousness of the Straight from the Heart tracklist I would be foolish to leave them off of my radar in the future. High Road is following a familiarly surreal path that syncs up well with what a lot of their rivals in the scene have been exploring in the last half-decade or so, but they’re going about their use of the postmodern aesthetic in a most unique way. They’ve got a lot of passion to bring to the table here, especially in proving they are the real deal in Straight from the Heart, and that’s evident inside the record’s first four songs.

Troy Johnstone

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