Pop punk may be understood as a playful genre, but Portsmouth five-piece High Down aren’t messing around on their new EP Moving On. Due to hit shelves on September 1st, the self-release injects some much-needed creativity into a scene often prone to being inundated with unoriginality. Jam-packed with a hearty helping of upbeat riffs like those cooked up by trailblazers Blink-182 and Neck Deep, and still sounding original enough while honouring the classic recipe, High Down has served up a feast worth sinking your teeth into in Moving On.
Opening with lead single ‘Life Lessons’, listeners are instantly hit with that youthful pop punk sensibility we’re so used to, building up to a fairly catchy hook with obvious influences. But what makes this track stand out is how it showcases lead singer Luke Smithson’s vocal talent – he’s growling the lyrics with an aggressive snarl in one beat, and in the next he’s casually acing high notes. It’s talent like this that can set one group apart from the rest, and demonstrates the band’s great possibilities for the future.
Admittedly, penultimate track ‘Rescue Me’ seems to start off a little gimmicky, suggesting it’s the obligatory acoustic track featuring a female vocalist that you’d find on any similar EP. However, it comes as a pleasant surprise that the song builds to an emotional full-band crescendo, and what it lacks in lyrical depth, it makes up for in the potential for it to be a killer live moment.
Closing with energetic ‘Against the Tide’, Moving On proves High Down aren’t just another pop punk ship in a sea of similar vessels. Though still a young band with a long way to go, if this EP is any indication of the talent the group possess, then it wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest High Down are definitely ones to watch in coming years.