The Higher are a band that have shown consistent efforts ever since there debut Histrionics, which cemented them as a band that could compete with all the other pop-punk bands out there. They proved themselves to be a step above the rest with there infectious melodies and impressive vocal range (courtesy of Seth Trotter). Now they are back with their third album, It’s Only Natural. Can they prove themselves to be the mainstream sensation that they have set themselves up to be with their previous albums? Or will they fall just below the bar of hitting it big this time around?
Those expecting “Histrionics: Part Two“ will be disappointed, because it is obvious that The Higher have moved on from the kind of songs that made them known in favor of tracks that have a slicker sheen to them (production-wise), and a much more pop oriented sound (in their melodies and lyrics alike). While some songs do harken back to the days of old (“Beautiful Coffins”) most other tracks embrace a different sort of sound that leaves the days of Histrionics in the dust whilst creating an evolution of On Fire (“Play With Fire”).
One thing that It’s Only Natural is helping to do is re-define what catchy is, as The Higher are going about many different ways to deliver a catchy hook or chorus throughout the album. While some songs are bursting at the seams with large choruses (“Story Of A Man Obsessed”), some dance around with electronic impulses and rhythms to get down with (“The Black Dress”), and some move at a fast pace and consist of clever catchy sentiments (“Undertaker”).
In the end, It’s Only Natural falls short of being like the old days of The Higher. They have defiantly moved on to becoming more pop than rock, and aren’t afraid to show it. The lyrics are less then what they used to be, and their melodies have morphed into something more electronic and less rock (trading their old style for a more boy-band format of harmonies, see: “Other Options”). It’s a love/hate phenomenon that will make this album divide their fan base so drastically. Change is natural in music, and this album will prove whether or not The Higher’s old fan-base is ready for change as they become an emerging pop band of 2009.