High Pines – We Are Humans EP
Having originally started High Pines as a one-man-band solo project, the Caribbean-born Leo Lugo has finally managed to craft the band which will produce the brand of catchy psychedelic pop that he has been striving for ever since relocating to Brooklyn in 2007. Having been joined by Max Loups, Felipe Torres and Andrey Kisselev, Lugo has brought to us a debut release with a distinctive and captivating sound.
We Are Humans is a five-track taster from a promising young outfit, and with the quartet about to embark on their first live headline shows in New York City, they are bound to attract some intrigued and expectant audiences.
Opening track, All Around, is an appropriate first impression of the band; with a wistful, dream-like quality created by jangly guitars and laid-back drumming from Torres. Bordering on a Syd Barrett-style trip of psychedelic insanity, the track shows an impressive song-writing maturity as Lugo manages to hold the entire thing together with a charming hook of a chorus and some enchanting lo-fi vocals. It is easy to let the lyrics wash over your ears in the gust of tranquillity, but to give them an extended listen is to find some poetic gems. “Give me peace that keeps me fine; Give me faith and keep me alive; There’s a reason why people follow you,” Lugo croons repeatedly throughout the EP’s first number.
With an air of the easy-to-listen-to folk rock that made The Thrills a whirlwind success in the early 00s, I Haven’t Seen It All is driven by the simplicity of Loups’ guitar line and a host of “Oooo”s from the front-man. Upon first listen, some may find High Pines’ efforts unspectacular, and perhaps even uninspiring. However, songs such as I Haven’t Seen It All will begin to embed themselves firmly after two or three listens, and once they are there, they are not easy to shake off – trust me.
Lights Out maintains the pensive, dreamy quality of this record and with the addition of two wonderfully crafted instrumental tracks (the latter of which closes the EP in a bizarre and fascinating manner), We Are Humans is complete. Five tracks, clocking in at just over fifteen minutes worth of music, you will perhaps feel is too short, but this can only be a good sign. If the foursome intended to leave us wanting more following this enticing introductory release, they have succeeded wholeheartedly. We might not quite understand High Pines just yet, but we are certain that we like what they do.