Thursday, November 17, 2011

High On Stress: "Living Is a Dying Art" (album review)

No matter how you slice it, The Replacements cast a long shadow over Minneapolis rock.  The band was so incredibly important to music as a whole that it must be daunting for any group from the town to try to play their style of freewheeling, clever rock n' roll.

One band that makes a pretty good go at it is High On Stress.  They have their third full length album, Living Is a Dying Art, coming out shortly.

From the opening bars of "Bite Your Tongue", it's easy to hear the Westerberg influence as a "Mannequin Shop"/"Love You In The Fall" groove takes hold.  The band is loose and rollicking throughout.  It's the sound of a band playing music they love and having fun doing it.

High On Stress can slow it down for the reflective numbers, like "Head", too.  A little twang creeping in is welcome as well.

The album has a lot in common thematically with The Replacements' work as well.  On the surface are the great song titles, really, how can you beat "All Along the Water Tower".  Delve a bit deeper and you get the wry sense of humour, on display for all during cuts like "Coattail Rider".  At the core though, you a band that doles out the advice about drinking, breaking up, having fun, and hitting bottom.  Sounds familiar doesn't it.

Everything comes together almost magically with the perfectly ramshackle "These Days Are Gone".   It goes to show that High On Stress are carrying on a legacy and doing it justice.

Best tracks: "These Days Are Gone", "Here Is Your Smoking Gun"

Track listing for Living Is a Dying Art:
  • Bite Your Tongue
  • These Days Are Gone
  • Figure Eights
  • Lost My Invitation
  • Even Time Won't Tell
  • Heard
  • Up Your Sleeve
  • Some Things Look Better In Pictures
  • Here Is Your Smoking Gun
  • Lead Follow Roll
  • Dakota Square
  • Cottail Rider
  • All Along the Water Tower
7.5/10
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Living is a Dying Art" is now available on iTunes and CD Baby!