A defined uniqueness might be absent but there is no turning up of the nose for the rousing exploits of Misguided Youth, the new EP from UK pop punks Highlives. The five track proposition invites and pleases ears with highly enterprising and increasingly alluring songs themed by the conflicting guidance and influences that young lives come up against and affect their decisions for good and bad. As suggested there are plenty of familiar hues and flavours to the Highlives sound but it does not stop the band providing thoroughly enjoyable and potent confrontations.
Another band coming out of the great Bristol music scene, Highlives caught ears with the release of their two-track EP Through Vacant Eyes in the middle of 2014, its success backing up a strong reputation and support already earned on their local landscape. The end of that year saw a well-received split release with Edmonton band Nothing Gold Can Stay lure new appetites the way of the band, though easy to suspect nothing to what Misguided Youth has the potential of sparking.
It opens up with Wake Me Up, a song instantly filling ears with robust rhythms within a thick blaze of sonic energy. Things do relax a touch as vocalist Liam Edwards adds his lyrical and emotive weight to proceeding, his potent expression and delivery backed by the equally strong tones of guitarist Ben Lucas. Fair to say though that hooks are alluring and riffs grouchy from hereon in but wrapped in melancholic air and a melodic charm which tempers and unites with the more bullish nature of the track. It is not a majorly remarkable beginning to the EP but certainly a richly engaging and attention holding one with its stylish craft and emotion, a touch of the Mayday Parade to its air not doing any harm either.
The strong start is quickly eclipsed by the following Heavy Weight, the best track on the release grabbing ears and appetite within its first clutch of seconds. A gentle rub of Lucas’ guitar is the spark to thicker endeavour, his swiftly bolder catchy bait joined by the snarling bass of Mark Prouse, both powered by the anthemic swings of drummer Steve Parks. With the vocals leading the infectious energy and temptation, body and emotions are soon fully involved with the excellent song, that bass grouchiness continuing to incite extra lust in an all-round treat of an incitement.
Twenty-Two steps up next, offering a generally calmer proposal in energy and sound though it is no less emotionally tempestuous as it releases rawer musical outbursts. For the main the song is a lively croon showing the Highlives ability to create expressive melodies and warm harmonies fuelled with reflective angst. It is another strongly enjoyable offering matched in success by the feistier contagion of Walking Blind. As with Heavy Weight, there are discernable essences of bands like The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and New Found Glory to the roar but also a low key and coincidental spice of Hagfish which only adds to the fun as the track leaves satisfaction full once again.
New single/video Better Days completes the release, it a more bruising and intensive snarl but no slouch in catchy hooks and gripping drama either. It is easy to see why it was chosen for the lead track from the EP, though personal thoughts wonder if the second song would be even more successful, and easy to get hooked by its tenacious energy and invention as well as the intensive emotion running through its infectious chest beating anthem.
Highlives is another great potential loaded band not yet finding a sound which truly standouts in pop punk, a success few can maybe really claim, but Misguided Youth shows they are going in the right direction, providing some keenly enjoyable and impressing songs as evidence.
The Misguided Youth EP is available as a free download from the band’s Bandcamp now.
Pete RingMaster 11/12/2015
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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