Tall Heights: Bostonian Band Beams in New Track “Infrared”
Bostonian progressive folk duo Tall Heights have released “Infrared”, a track from their second full-length album Neptune, set for release on August 19th, 2016. Tall Heights are a unique musical duo in that they gained prominence through their street performances. From there, Bostonian singer-songwriter Ryan Montbleau watched them perform at the Lizard Lounge Open Mic Challenge in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and as a result he decided to collaborate with them. The result was the Extended Play (EP) All or Nothing / Fast Car, released in 2014 as a collective effort between Tall Heights and Montbleau.
All or Nothing / Fast Car is one example of why I’m interested in Tall Heights. Indie groups who aren’t tied to the desires and requests of major record labels have more freedom to create the music that they want to create. “Infrared” is a great representation of that freedom.
“Infrared” opens with a woozy sonic mix of guitar reverberations, paced gradually and pensively to create the chilled atmosphere of the track. Duo Tim Harrington and Paul Wright enter with their calm, meditative vocals. A leisurely electronic drumbeat enters the mix to fill out the instrumentation, but it isn’t until the chorus that the real compositional mastery begins. An onslaught of various percussive sounds and echoes thunder throughout the track—I hear cellos, synthesizers, and measured yet sturdy drumbeats layered beneath the duo’s vocal harmonies. Then, tranquility ensues: the pace of the track slows down again, and the guitars vibrate amongst the peculiar percussive sounds that seem especially characteristic of Tall Heights. In the second verse, a snaky electronic piano and a complex interplay between the drums and the guitar weave in and out of the duo’s vocal work. The second chorus is largely the same with the first, albeit with a distinctive transition into the outro. The duo repeats “A little heart with a beat” amid the same instrumental patterns, but the end of the track is pretty cool—it focuses on a different vocal feature, and it reduces the instrumentation down to a simple drumbeat that closes the track concisely and decisively.
I’m a major fan of “Infrared”, especially after multiple listens. It fascinates me how much indie bands can exert their creativity without the limits of a major record label—“Infrared” is proof of that. Progressive folk is also a new and innovative genre that is perfect for the type of experimentation that indie bands have the liberty to exercise. I’m impressed with “Infrared” and with Tall Heights, and I look forward to see what else they have in store.
Have you listened to “Infrared” yet? Check out the track on YouTube below. If you like what you hear, you can find Neptune on Spotify when August 19th rolls around as well as the rest of their discography right now.