High Placesâ€™ â€œnewâ€ 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 havenâ€™t heard them before, theyâ€™re â€œnew to you.â€
Overall, the album is interesting but uneven. Experimental electronica cuts like â€œUniverseâ€ are the most engaging. The track keeps the listener guessing at every turn, fading a keyboard riff that sounds like â€œBaba Oâ€™Reillyâ€ into a pool of violin sounds, then silence, then clicking beats like bugs crawling through the rain. But â€œJump Inâ€ is so light that it canâ€™t be graspedâ€”it pours through the ears like water through fingers, leaving little behind. Other tunes donâ€™t feel complete, like â€œSandy Feat,â€ which gets a hypnotic groove going but then suddenly ends. Still other songs feel innocent and exotic, like â€œBanana Slugs/Cosmonautâ€ and â€œGreeting the Light.â€ By the end, most of the songs blend togetherâ€”thereâ€™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, â€œShared Islands,â€ with its beautiful vocal arrangement over a simple beat, and â€œGranola,â€ which is far too short.