With WSTR having released one of the best pop-punk releases so far already and another Neck Deep album bolting over the horizon it’s hard to imagine more of the genre is required for the summer. However, here come High Down to show you that you can never have too much of a good thing. The five-piece, following controversy with prestigious youtube comedian Jarrod Alonge and having parted ways with their bassist, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that this release, Moving On, could land with shaky footing. However, the band manage to pull some painfully catchy tunes out of the bag.
Opening on Against the Tide, a larger-than-life riff breaks through in attempt to create a huge opening to a release. Unfortunately, the mixing and mastering of the EP doesn’t lend itself to these elements- throughout the release the melodic moments are captured brilliantly, but when a breakdown makes its pass (as in this track) the impact feels upsettingly non-existent. Despite missed opportunities in post-production, the track serves as a great opening, with smiley vocal melodies and excellent guitar pieces to glue together a burning chorus.
High Down seem easy to compare with State Champs thanks to front man Luke’s impressive range, and the band’s clear affection for melodic guitar pieces designed for bouncing around to. The whole release shows itself off, with huge tunes to open and slowing down closer to the end, with acoustic closer Rescue Me. While this serves as an emotional departure from the EP thanks to a duet with an as of yet unnamed female co-vocalist, the song brings the release to a sharp stop, and while as an acoustic track it is of quality, it’s not the massive pop-punk blaring monster that High Down can clearly accomplish. The song comes to a head at the end with instrumentals joining in, but the mixing leaves the track without the impact the band must’ve wanted. The transition between simple acoustics to full band is seamless in the worst way- there is no impact to the punch that is required to make this track stand out, and the song feels as though it ends too abruptly for there to be any real closure to the release.
An unfortunate last track can’t make this release a bad one, though- through all of their hardship, High Down manage to produce an EP of real quality, with bouncy moments guided through the tunnel by ecstatic vocals and punchy riffs. A fan of State Champs and breakdowns? Don’t sleep on Moving On.