The Higher - On Fire
Release Date: March 6, 2007
Record Label: Epitaph Records
Despite being predictable, sex-crazed, and pushy, The Higher's emo-cum-soul sophomore release, On Fire, is relatively consistent. The only problem is that those three inhibitors make up about ninety-five percent of the album. Oops. Seth Trotter's plain vanilla vocals lend a sense of irritating stability to the record, most of which features digitization with more extraneous fluff than Lindsay Lohan's crotch shots. In fact, setting aside the effects, this album will leave you wondering if the band can possibly create a more straightforward record about what exactly happens between the sheets.
The Las Vegas quintet signed to Epitaph following their debut album two years ago, and decided to record with Mike Green for the new CD. Green, usually known for raw production on rock records, took the glitz and glamour to a completely new level with On Fire. The Higher aimed for the moon, recalling the crispness of late-90's boy bands on some songs, but realistically fall far short of the platinum potential of their predecessors.
"Guts" is a bona-fide disaster from the beginning. Sure, it sounds cutesy enough, but three minutes later, you will be begging for the cheese of the album's opener, "Insurance". The chorus is heavily repeated, and the instrumentation is extremely bland, even for this particular record. The flavorless slow jam "Can Anyone Really Love Young?" plods along like Panic at the Disco playing a junior high's last dance. The spastic "Rock My Body" has the right idea, with a smoothly refined guitar bridge, but the rest of the song hits the wall of repetition going at least a hundred miles per hour. On top of that, the ending of the song will take you straight back to the vocoder that reared its ugly head on Hellogoodbye's full-length (ultimately sending that CD into the "forgettable" pile).
If The Higher can break free from the vicious glam-pop cycle that mars On Fire, I think they've got potential yet. Unfortunately, save for two songs (the catchy lead single, "Insurance" and the blaring "Weapons Wired"), this album is wholly forgettable. Those two songs display a bold side of The Higher that is promptly destroyed by the sticky lovesick numbers that make up the rest of the album. In fact, three of the tracks are from the band's 2005 debut, Histrionics, including a Patrick Stump remix of "Pace Yourself"). One might wonder if the band or label lacked confidence in the new material, especially after hearing the poor execution of the new songs. Fans of the electro-pop craze will probably dig On Fire, but outside of that, this is an otherwise conventional album by an average rock band that had too much fun playing with the dials in the studio.
wow i was shocked by this grade. i actually really like this album, as much as there is the boy band factor in it. i heard seth (singer) sing acapella at Bamboozle left at the Epitaph tent and he sounded great.
i am a ginormous higher fan and enjoy this record very much but i am not surprised by this review. the boys could have done much better with this album but all power to them for making the album they wanted.