If Patti Smith fronted Ace of Cups and they recorded with Dangermouse at Dap-Tone Studios with a picture of George Martin on the control room wall, they might be lucky enough to capture a sound as raw and alive and sincere as this next-gen indie soul sensation High Up. The music is evocative, with a tangible focus on the groove (a lot of waltz and shuffle feels, especially for a contemporary group) plus the signature overdriven organ (Pigpen, eat your heart out). In the forefront are Christine Fink’s searing vocals, lending refined expression to her sister Orinda’s lyrical explorations of the heart — literate and honest, with a no-bullshit attitude — drawing crucial support from brother Todd (of The Faint) with a little help from their friends Josh Soto and Matt Focht (of Bright Eyes). Together they churn out an astonishing blend of chitlin circuit, protest anthem, and college house show all in one singular presentation; and each composition beams tender slivers of resolute awareness and rains gentle tears of compassion in this humble acknowledgement: since time immemorial we as a human race have endured hard times, but what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger, and we shall overcome.
I was working on a new record in the back of a borrowed shotgun shack in the heart of New Orleans’ Garden District, daily microdosing as therapy to break my seven-year smoking habit, when the call came in from central command that Omaha-based soul group High Up were releasing a new full-length called You Are Here, and I was assigned to review it for POW. Of course, I thought, satiate the craving with more gonzo journalism.
Ideally this album signals the beginning of a long and prosperous journey for this family affair as they continue to express the breadth and depth of the human condition through the power of love and soul. Keep the faith, sisters and brothers.
– Joshua Cook, guest music reviewer for Pow Magazine
Check out Joshua Cook and the Key of Now at www.keyofnow.com