By Jessica Rinfret


It’s hard not to fall in love with the upbeat, surf-style whimsy that is the band HIGHS (composed of Doug Haynes, Karrie Douglas, Kevin Ledlow, and Joel Harrower). The Toronto-based band’s self-titled EP was released in July of 2013. The band describes themselves as “alt-pop,” and I must say, they do it well. Of the five songs featured on the EP, Summer Dress is the shining star. It is upbeat, and features stunning vocals and harmonies. It is just offbeat enough to keep things interesting, especially with the strong drums featured not only on this track, but throughout the EP. Honestly, the title of the song says it all—it sounds like summer, and is somewhat reminiscent of another local summer favourite: Said the Whale’s Emerald Lake, AB. Other favourites include Cannibal Coast, which features a dreamy, earthy, and somewhat surreal intro. The dreamy tone lasts throughout the song, but it soon picks up with flitting and free-sounding guitar and, as is signature to the EP, strong and intricate drums. The use of percussion in Cannibal Coast is interesting, especially the featuring of crashing cymbals, which almost mimic the crashing of waves. Harvest is a whimsical and emotionally tender offering. There is a certain sweetness that maintains itself throughout the song, even as it picks up. The fade out at the end of the song serves to really feature the strong, lyrical vocals that are a standout throughout the entire EP. All the songs feature fun, somewhat cryptic lyrics that are open to the listener’s interpretation, which is just what you’d expect from a band of this nature. Honestly, the EP is just diverse enough in its offerings to really put forth a sense of what this band can do, while maintaining a cohesive, signature sound. I’d watch out for these guys—I’m expecting stellar things. I, as you will after hearing this EP, can’t wait to hear what they decide to give us next. You can get a free download of Nomads by clicking the link below.