The Higher State | Freakout At the Gallery

And here’s another LP I would have loved to have on my 2011 end-of-year list. Paul Messis, who did appear on it, has now joined the band on bass guitar but does not play on these recordings, made throughout last year. Musically, the group have taken a slightly new turn, which soft rock and psych fans will appreciate. There’s a new air of San Francisco area folk-psych on tracks like “These Things Take Time”, included in the latest podcast (check next post). They deliver two ballads, “Bus Song” and the sitar-based “A Thousand Yards”. Sitar is also used on the album’s longest track, the WCPAEB-flavoured “If At All”. Furthermore, “Everything I See” and album closer “Hey In There” sound fresh as well, pointing perhaps in Buffalo Springfield’s direction. This strand of their output could be heard also on their previous album Darker By the Day, on e.g. “Electric Cowboy”. Apart from those, this 3rd LP delivers three to four solid folk rock tunes with the signature Higher State jangle, including the preceding single on Get Hip, “I’ll Always Be Around” (which fittingly has the WCPAEB song “Transparent Day” on the flip). It’s no exaggeration to say, that with Freakout At the Gallery the group leave their fascination with early Love behind and step out of their comfort zone. And they do it well considering the album doesn’t have a single upbeat garage track on it. Get it from 13 O’Clock.

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