Higgins Dear Higgins

[Maggadee; 2006]

Styles: pop rock, indie rock, psychedelic rock
Others: The Bees, Ween, Radar Brothers

As the sound fades up on "Difference," a fairly simple 4/4 drumbeat is the first recognizable sound, yet very quickly, I notice that a few random snare hits echo, ricocheting - passing between the right and left channels. When the phased-out guitars come into prominence, their intertwining lines build a sonic thread of psychedelic sunshine that confidently twists like a sine wave through the track. A gentle, reassuring male voice invites me to "Take a walk around." Soon, it's met with a beefier, yet pleasantly goofy, voice (almost like Ween in "Big Jilm" mode) for a point/counterpoint chorus that beautifully complements the airier verse. As the song progresses, layers of vocal harmonies waft in and out like pungent smoke, and by the end, I have red eyes and a bad case of cotton mouth. For fans of slightly silly psychedelia, it's the kind of opener that just sucks you in and won't let go - Higgins has your number.

While there are some other great moments throughout the rest of the album, nothing quite reaches the heights of that first track. "Come Again" and "Come" are Kinks-style rockers that don't quite exhibit the necessary intensity. "Drop Off" aspires to be a type of plaintive pop akin to "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," but drifts a bit too listlessly to ever sink its hooks in. Higgins are at their best when they go for the psychedelic sound without holding back, like in the opener, "Town 2 Town," and "One More Time" in particular. They seem skilled with that melancholy (yet somehow sunny) vibe that feels like it could have been maintained better throughout the entire album. With that said, "Difference" may be one of my favorite opening tracks so far this year, and it sets the bar for the big things likely to come from Higgins in the future.

1. Difference
2. Come Again
3. Drop Off
4. Come
5. Bees
6. Shut It
7. Town 2 Town
8. Show
9. One More Time

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