High Places | Original Colors

Thrill Jockey (2011)
By JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  October 4, 2011
2.5 2.5 Stars

high places-m

High Places have changed their sound a great deal since their cool ride together began five years ago with a fresh breeze of homespun sounds, household percussion, and trickling vocals. And though their turn from last year, High Places v. Mankind, took just criticism for being a run-of-the-mill indie record with no charisma, Original Colors is a more than respectable rebound. Its 10 selections are stocked with enough familiar touchstones to place it nicely in the electro-lounge racks (the heavy dub on "Morning Ritual," the Incredible Bongo beats on "The Pull"), but High Places manage to make the genre their own. Mary Pearson's naïve-sounding vocal poems are accompanied by percussion tracks pulled from a variety of rhythmic perspectives (inspired by her and partner Rob Barker's travels). Tasty keyboards are usually limited to a single ultra-minimal track just to nudge things along. So as much as Original Colors sounds like it could be just a single channel on a Depeche Mode mix, it's even more like those sound-collages that you hear at the giant-salamander exhibit.
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