High Places’ “new” release, 03/07 – 09/07, is actually a repackaging of singles and tracks originally released on eMusic, but many of you (me included) never go the opportunity to hear these rarities, so, to borrow a silly corporate phrase, if you haven’t heard them before, they’re “new to you.”
Overall, the album is interesting but uneven. Experimental electronica cuts like “Universe” are the most engaging. The track keeps the listener guessing at every turn, fading a keyboard riff that sounds like “Baba O’Reilly” into a pool of violin sounds, then silence, then clicking beats like bugs crawling through the rain. But “Jump In” is so light that it can’t be grasped—it pours through the ears like water through fingers, leaving little behind. Other tunes don’t feel complete, like “Sandy Feat,” which gets a hypnotic groove going but then suddenly ends. Still other songs feel innocent and exotic, like “Banana Slugs/Cosmonaut” and “Greeting the Light.” By the end, most of the songs blend together—there’s not a lot of variety here. Yet, at the same time, some of the tribal, world-beat-ish grooves really stick to the brain. In particular, “Shared Islands,” with its beautiful vocal arrangement over a simple beat, and “Granola,” which is far too short.