Our judgement of Aussie duo High Highs is always going to be a bit clouded. When you start your career off with a track like Milan, a perfect melange of airy dream-pop and haunting vocals, it’s going to be a hard act to follow every single time.
To be honest, they haven’t quite managed to better that moment even if they do get quite close on Cascades. The problem isn’t so much the craft or the production – both pretty spot-on for what the genre expects – but the slight disconnect between those and the heart. Opener Boxing sort of sums it up quite adequately: the aspirations seem arena-sized, the reality much more subdued.
But Jack Milas and Oli Chang work well together, enough for us to keep wanting to hear that little bit more from them. The title track certainly works a charm as a slice of sun-flecked dream-pop for the road and Movement does have a lot of repeat value, but then sadly that’s where the record peaks. How Could You Know starts strong before running out of steam, and tracks like Sun leave us slightly fidgety as they try to hold our interest. A shame really – these boys do have a lot of potential, but it seems their ambitions fall prey to the unoriginal tropes of indie-pop that stop them reaching the high highs to which they so clearly aspire.