The High Water Marks

Songs About the Ocean

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

The High Water Marks' debut album is noisy, simple, exciting guitar pop with a bite. Per Ole Bratset and Hilarie Sidney (drummer of the Apples in Stereo) don't tart things up at all. Nearly every song is a headlong rush of loud guitars and clattering drums; there are no tricky chord changes, background vocals, horns, keyboard squiggles, or production frippery of any kind. In fact, although there were many overdubs considering it is a two-person band, the record sounds like it was recorded live in the studio in one take. Many times this can be a record's undoing as the similarities in sound and tone wear down even the most ardent listeners, and indeed it would have been nice to have a little variety here at times. Still the enthusiasm and vigor with which the band attacks its cute and chirpy melodies ends up winning the day. The best songs, like "National Time," "Good I Feel Bad," "High Water Marks," and "Sixth of July," have quite memorable hooks and sound like nothing less than excellent Apples in Stereo album cuts. The main difference is the more aggressive sound and Sidney's vocals. She has a sweet and innocent vocal style that contrasts well with Bratset's more forceful approach. Fans of the Apples should be all over this record, but anyone who likes their guitar pop on the short, tough, and simple side should get on board as well.

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