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U.S. Highball

Up To High Doh Monorail Exclusive

Bingo Records

Released: 27th November 2020

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Gorgeous. Firm believers in sweetness and the cleansing force of the perfect power pop song, Glasgow's U.S. Highball have created a candied second album that layers on truckloads of dual harmonies and plenty of Glasgow kitchen sink stories to induce daydreams in sandstones. Jangling guitars, tingling sentiments that tug at your heartstrings, these songs brim with a kind of melancholy innocence that feel like what you remember hanging out with friends in the summer is like. Was hanging with your best friend around the skatepark in Kelvingrove really this sweet and perfect? It's hard to latch on to these memories at the moment, but listening to the honey-dipped harmonies of Hindle and Halliday, you do get the feeling that you'll get a chance to make more like them soon. Maybe.

In Scottish parlance, to be up to high doh means to find oneself in a state of nervous excitement. Written, recorded and mixed at their home studio in Glasgow during the particularly fraught Spring of 2020, the duo’s sophomore album perfectly reflects the giddy anxiety implied by its title.

Eternal believers in the unmatched power of a two-minute pop song, James and Calvin have capably expanded on the homespun arrangements of ‘Great Record’, their short, sharp shock of a debut album. The tunes on ‘Up to High Doh’ add up to an even shorter, sharper shock that draws inspiration from their rain-soaked home city’s rich legacy of DIY pop music, the indomitable energy of African highlife and the taut, spiky melodicism of power pop’s golden age. These twelve absurdly catchy tracks, including interpretations of songs by Vic Ruggiero and Geoff Farina, are bursting with small, idiosyncratic details, both musical and lyrical, that elevate them above their deceptively simple structures. This is pure, precise pop at its most insistent.