High On Stress “Hold Me In”

High On Stress “Hold Me In”

Let’s be honest, given High On Stress reference Wilco and The Replacements as influences, that’s almost enough to guarantee a good review from us on it’s own. The fact they regard this album as “a love letter to Minneapolis, the great bands from Twin Tone Records and people like Slim Dunlap and Tommy Keene” means it should be something you want to check out.

Thankfully, the album immediately lives up to that billing with opening track “Work Release”, a rocking bar room tune. It’s clearly indebted to The Replacements but also has a solo that James Dean Bradfield of the Manic Street Preachers would be proud of. Together with songs like “Kolonpin and Alcohol” and “Relax”  these are the one for drinking to on a Friday night.

The Wilco influences then shine on tracks like “Never Got Far” and “Life Can Get So Long”. But this is probably for fans who loved the more rocking country flavour of A.M. (a hugely under rated album as far as we’re concerned). There’s just a beautiful easy-going nature to the sound of tunes like “Daylight Instead”

We know it’s just wishful thinking, but the more playful country pop sound of  “Dakota” and the power pop feel of “Stop Right There” would gather a lot of radio play in a fairer world. First single “Wish This Moment” also falls into that territory and features Laurie Lindeen of Zuzu’s Petals on backing vocals.

It’s not too long until they are back to the Replacement’s dirty rock n roll on songs like “Progress Is A Busted Line”, title track “Hold Me In” and “Stop Right There”. These are the sort of songs that we imagine would be perfect played live in a spit and sawdust venue (sadly something we won’t be able to experience for a while).

Overall, what this album really does is just make you wish that you could go out and see a great band performing live. There’s a real spirit to the songs which makes you think of better times when you could experience a great band with a few beers. Oh well, those days will be back soon, and we can only hope and pray that High On Stress may make their way over to the UK one day soon.

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