The High Strung

Ode to the Inverse of the Dude

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Having severed ties with Detroit several years prior, the High Strung emphasize pop melodies and loose, laid-back instrumentation on Ode to the Inverse of the Dude, leaving behind the garage rock influences that previously dotted their albums. Ode's newfound affability seems to take its cues from the band's touring ethic, a relentless obligation to the road that sometimes yields upwards of 300 shows a year. The High Strung haven't turned into a jam band as a result, but a groovy undercurrent does float beneath these 11 songs, which replace the band's former strut with good vibes and a whimsical bounce. "Standing at the Door of Self Discovery" opens the album with gang vocals and a simple refrain, having been seemingly designed to encourage audience participation in a live setting, while "Real Stone" marries light piano chords with such commands as "penny up for the Oreos!" Few songs truly stand out here -- not because the material is poor, but because the bandmates no longer split their time between power pop and gritty psychedelia, thus leaving the track list to be dominated by the former genre. Ode to the Inverse of the Dude is still a wholly pleasant listen, however, timely released at the onset of warm weather and aptly indicative of the band's strength as a live act.

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