Many in High Places Are Not Well

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H.I.M.'s Douglas Scharin took a brief break after 2001's New Features, then regrouped H.I.M. with some familiar faces as well as a few new ones for the group's second record for Bubble Core, 2003's Many in High Places Are Not Well. Collaborators include Joshua LaRue, Fred Erskine, and Rob Mazurek, and vocalist Christian Dautresme (from the Letter E). The band is workmanlike and innovative; proving themselves capable of highly percussive jams with the motorische qualities of Can and offer many glimpses of polyrhythms (a two-drummer attack helps here). For the opener, "Elementals," H.I.M.. sounds like an Afro-beat group playing against each other, with a horn section following not Fela Kuti's lead, but Stereolab's. Dautresme's performance on "Slow Slow Slow," along with "The Way Trees Are" are the highlights of the album; with warmth coming from the slinky basslines and nearly wordless vocalizing; while at the same time, a coolness comes into the mix from the horn section, a shimmering guitar, and a two-man drum kit.

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