Album Review: Great Record by U.S. Highball (2019) (Lame-O Records)

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U.S. Highball are the latest project of  ex-The Pooches duo of Calvin Halliday and James Hindle, who now appear to have toned down the power-pop inflections of their previous act in favour of an altogether more bubbling and silky indie-pop, that evokes the sort of natural comfort and intimacy that only a chat with a very old friend really engenders.

Radiating tracks such as  Hall of Heads (see below), My Frankenstein, Old Place, 697, Do It Yourself  and the album in general, explore the minutiae of life in Glasgow through personal experiences that include being exposed to art school pretentiousness, living as gay men and all manner of irreverent irrelevances that invite you into the ‘in jokes’ that ruminate within the lifelong friendship of this duo.

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The fact that the vehicle for such interpersonal warmth are mid tempo tracks that seem to compete with each other for the crown of ‘the jangliest’ and ‘the indiest’, just adds to the sense of non threatening intimacy, that doffs it’s cap at twee-pop, but never actually dons the actual cardigan.

It is not all so delightfully flocculent though, as The Pooches in them cannot help but to occasionally increase the tempo. However, rather than revert to any previous power-pop default mode, tracks such as Kelvin Hall, Don’t Travel Far (see below) and Summer Boy seem intent to transport the sort of Glaswegian indie-pop styles of Eugene Kelly slap bang into the middle of 1960 bay Area scene, resulting in a unique feel that somewhere, deep in the summer snow of Scotland, sunshine and surf pop are thriving…it would be weird if it was not so peculiarly pretty.

I hope this duo give U.S. Highball an extended run of releases because indie-pop needs something different to add to it’s current lexicon and this act provide it is spades!

Artist Links: Bandcamp  Facebook

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