High On Stress – ‘Hold Me In’ album review

High on Stress Hold Me In Bandcamp album review Minneapolis

High On Stress describe themselves as a ‘power pop rock & roll band out of Minneapolis’ and their sound has already been praised by The Replacements manager Peter Jesperson (‘this is exceptional work’) and James Alex of the one and only Beach Slang (‘This record is F*CKING KILLER’). Their new record ‘Hold Me In’ is out now…

‘Work Release’ opens the album with a classic rock & roll sound that reminds us of Cheap Trick as the band declare ‘We’ve paid our dues like we pay the rent’ before asking ‘Who’s side are you on?’ There are some emo stylings in the background that stay present throughout the following ‘Klonopin and Alcohol’, a song which finds the band examining how alcohol can ‘make you feel nothing at all’. ‘Dakota’ has a slower start that progresses into something more jangly and jaunty, although still with a healthy dose of heartbreak: ‘Thanks for your apologies, they don’t sit very well with me. I’ll dry these crying eyes’.

‘Never Got That Far’ has more of an alt-folk Wilco-style feel complete with a harmonica solo, while ‘Life Can Get So Long’ continues in the melancholic vein: ‘Maybe we’ll find the right words to get us through the door but maybe not?’ You can hear the influence of power pop supremo Tommy Steele racing through ‘Wish This Moment Gone’ while the opening lines of the vibrant and refreshing ‘Relax’ have a line that will resonate with many: ‘The answers coming soon but like ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’, I never got it at all’. ‘Daylight Instead’ finds High On Stress dipping into a fuzzed-up Guided by Voices sound as they ask ‘You’re never gonna know where you wake up next?’ while ‘Progress is a Busted Line’ has a grunge-tinged quiet-loud sound that sums up all the talk of feeling lonely.

‘Hold Me In’ reminded us of early R.E.M. with its driving sound while ‘Stop Right There’ is the kind of anthem that has you singing along on first listen – especially to those harmonies of ‘You keep calling me out’ towards the end. The closing ‘8 Track Song’ is a quieter and more reflective song about the impossible-to-understand power of love: ‘The sky changed from red to purple. Somehow it stayed that way. Was it pure love that’s calling me?’

Brace yourselves, ‘Hold Me In’ is a hell of a journey you’ll want to accompany High On Stress on…

 

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