The High Strung These Are Good Times

[Tee Pee; 2003]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: indie pop
Others: Boyracer, The Thermals, French Kicks

The High Strung play bright, catchy indie guitar pop with slightly high-pitched, nasal vocals. Think a slightly less sloppily-played version of Boyracer, with that band's same lovable lack of pretension and no mistakes made about the singular goal of producing the best and most ingratiating hooks. "Show a Sign of Life" rides literally on a "Sha-la-la-la-la!" pre-chorus. If the French Kicks let themselves have a little more fun, they might be able to ride in the van with these guys. Sure, there are some slip-ups ("The World's Smallest Violin" shouldn't have been sequenced so early on the record, running nearly four minutes when the other tracks are uniformly two and a half). But, by-and-large, the slop-pop genre (run with that coining, anyone?) is populated only by bands like Boyracer, the Thermals, and the ghosts of old Guided by Voices. These are Good Times is a great 33-minute fix of fun, cymbal-laden indie pop.

1. Wretched Boy
2. Show a Sign of Life
3. Ain't That Something
4. The World's Smallest Violin
5. Throwaway
6. It's On
7. Stares Everywhere
8. The Songbird
9. I Got Frustration
10. Cocksure
11. Real Nice Boy
12. Rah Rah Rah!
13. If the Night...

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