Like their debut album, there is anger and sharpness on this offering—working class anger, male anger, existential anger—but it is tempered by a vulnerability and hope in their lyrics and in their sound, that has come from therapeutic digging and the life-altering choice of Sayle, to sing more than he screams, in both a metaphorical and a literal sense.
“It might take just one / Reason to carry on / Or something sharp to cut these trauma bonds,” frontman Graham Sayle of UK hardcore (becoming post-hardcore) band, High Vis, sings on one of the singles off their new record, Blending, that came out on September 31st via Dais Records.
Following in line with hardcore outfits like Baltimore’s Turnstile, High Vis embrace multiple genres on their latest record: their hardcore roots are certainly there, but there’s more of a reliance upon shoe gaze and arena rock guitars than before. Sayle accepts his position as a bigger brother on this album, by continuing to acknowledge the working class problems in the UK, like on the song “0151” (Liverpool’s zip code)—“From Canning Town to Birkenhead / The working class is as good as dead / If you won’t give it, then we’ll fucking take it”—but also makes generous room for the transformative power of grief and sharing, like on many songs on the album, including the opener, where he sings, “Talk for hours, I hardly know ya / But I, I’m listening / to you cry.”
It is the toughness of the album, in sound and lyric, that convinces you that they care about what’s going on in their community and in their world. But it is the softness, I think, that will help their listeners truly survive the hard conditions, the unbearable losses, the terrible odds. Like they sing on album closer, “Shame,” “Although you don’t belong here / You’re exactly where you need to be.”
High Vis’s latest album, whose title is a slang term for doing your best and coolest, but which has the double meaning of blending, perhaps, the hard with the soft, the hardcore with the pop, the working class with the rest of the world, is a solid attempt at creating bridges instead of burning them. They sacrifice none of their integrity, but will perhaps create a greater devoted audience for their sonic and lyrical choices. It’s a remarkable tender and tough album.
Purchase Blending by High Vis HERE
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