Dallas Higgins - End of Days
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: Nov. 27, 2012
Dallas Higgins is a 24-year-old singer-songwriter from Massachusetts who once fronted the emo/punk band Foredoes Me Quite. After a long absence from recording, Higgins is back with End of Days, his six song debut EP. The disc was recorded by Ray Jeffrey (Tallhart, et. al) at Rancho Recordo in Michigan.
How is it?
A promising debut. Opener "Swallow the World," begins aggressive and angst-riddled and in many ways is jarring and abrasive. Thankfully, Higgins settles into a groove and the song anchors itself in sleek production, slick guitars and a zesty chorus. Higgins is lucky in that he possesses good pop smarts and that he knows his way around a song. After the off-putting first thirty seconds, the remaining two minutes of "Swallow the World," are jangly, accessible and pleasant. Granted, his vocals aren't as ripe as they should be, but not every album opener is a home-run.
Title track "End of Days (Burn it Down)," follows and is far more straightforward. The tone of the song seems mired in acoustic grunge and there is a slight Brand New/Modest Mouse vibe, as well as a late summer haze that works quite well given the dark subject matter. Though his vocals once again sound forced, the rest of the song is an absolute delight and point towards something worth remembering. That being written, there has yet to be a moment on the EP where Higgins feels, dare I say, comfortable. It is almost as if he is overworking.
Almost as if on cue, Higgins rescues the EP with "Chasing Trains," a whale of a song that does very little, if anything, wrong. Higgins' voice is enveloping, enchanting and nothing short of incredible. Additionally, it is the kind of song many would be proud to call their own. Simple, affecting and delicate, it seems to point at a genre Higgins would be smart to stick to. Channeling City and Colour, "Chasing Trains," is everything that's right about music and a shining jewel in Higgins' young crown.
What follows though are arguably the EP's worst two tracks. Both "Get it Wrong," and "Finer Things," are urgent, antic and guitar-driven, but neither of them fail to make an impact or a punch. Instead, the two tracks feel redundant and uninteresting. Being that this is just his debut EP, End of Days was certain to have its fair share of green moments and both "Get it Wrong,' and "Finer Things," are proof of that. Like the consummate professional, Higgins finishes the EP strong with "Around the Bend," a ruminative, string-and-piano laden affair that is gorgeous, nuanced and an absolute delight.
While "Chasing Trains," "Around the Bend," and "End of Days," point to something promising and indelible, the forgettable moments of "Get it Wrong," and "Finer Things," reveal that Higgins still has work to do before he gets his magazine close-up. But the talent and potential is there. It's just a matter of how willing he is to put his talents to the test. Despite its conclusive title, End of Days is just the beginning. The end is still yet to be written.