ALBUM REVIEW: Tall Heights – Juniors

8/10

ALBUM REVIEW: Tall Heights – Juniors

Boston electro-folk duo Tall Heights releases their third full-length album, Juniors, the follow-up to 2018’s Pretty Colors For Your Actions. Juniors reflects a spiritual and emotional cusp of transition during which the duo – Paul Wright and Tim Harrington – experienced a variety of circumstances, including health and substance abuse crises among their loved ones, the passing of Harrington’s grandfather, and both their wives announcing they were expecting.

The result of all this was a burgeoning sense of wonder and awareness. Harrington explains, “After everything we went through, we came to a place of understanding that we have no control, that each new day is an adventure we need to approach with beginner’s eyes.”

Wright adds, “Through all the discomfort, we took it as our mission to stay humble and hungry, to know that everything will change and to be prepared to find something of real value in that—and to find ourselves in it, too.”

Written and recorded at “The Tall House” in Northeastern Massachusetts, the album came to life in isolation, followed by undergoing the finishing touches of Omaha producers Mike Mogis (Paul McCartney, Phoebe Bridgers, Bright Eyes) and Oliver Hill.

Wright shares, “It all happened in this tiny, hectic, beautiful space where our wives were also working from home, both pregnant, and there’s a dog, and a cat that hated each other, and then Tim’s toddler who’d just started walking would come barging in and start dancing mid-take, joining in a song with us.” Because we were cut loose and isolated within this space and time, we ended up capturing something incredibly and uniquely us in the new sound we created.”

Encompassing a dozen tracks, entry points on Juniors include “Keeps Me Light,” a song vaguely reminiscent of America, rippling with velvety vocals and soft shimmering tones. Measured and drifting, “The Mountain” travels on austere colouration, glittering and gentle, while delicious falsetto harmonies imbue the lyrics with quixotic textures. Whereas “Raindrop” conjures up suggestions of Simon and Garfunkel, rolling out on mellow harmonics and lush, indulgent voices.

“Come Outside” changes things up, introducing elements of shoegaze into the sonic mixture, along with hints of psychedelia. “Flyin’ Overhead” is probably the most radio-ready track on Juniors, simply because of a mid-tempo rhythm, gleaming leitmotifs, and smooth, luxurious vocals.

Tall Heights continues to create stylishly alluring electro-folk music with Juniors while simultaneously evolving toward more ethereal savours.

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