The High Rise of 'Highly Suspect'
Surging onto the scene at this year’s Grammy Awards were the relatively unknown ‘Highly Suspect’. I’d been a fan of the band for a couple of months prior and their Grammy debut was a great reminder of the support for lesser known music, bringing such talented artists into the public eye.
The band are renowned for the deep, husky vocals of Johnny Stevens who fronts the band, and the heavy rock undertones that are prominent in the band’s tracks, particularly ‘Bloodfeather’ and ‘Lydia’. The change in dynamic of Steven’s voice in ‘Lydia’ is remarkable, with his husky voice hitting superior high notes then dragging itself back down to the husking growl that is so prevalent in his sound. Alongside the intense offerings, ‘Highly Suspect’ also offer lighter tracks, with Serotonia and the stripped down version of ‘Vanity’ particularly remnant of this sound.
The lyrics themselves are to be highly noted, with the banalities of life often referenced, Steven’s gets pretty to the point when he exclaims “All I wanna do is fucking sleep” in ‘Bathsalts’, a claim I’m sure many of us have often wanted to lament along to some heavy guitar ourselves.
The track ‘Lydia’ has some serious lyrical offerings, with “echoes in the halls, they danced along the walls, the memories of your bones” standing out to me in particular. The fact that each human’s skeletal composition is essentially the same, bones aren’t particularly individual; yet, Steven’s holds a memory of a certain human so deeply that it penetrates right down to the bone, his impact leaving its own individual trace that he feels he can distinguish right down to such biological elements. It’s a deep line, and cleverly executed in a song that I have to crown my favourite of ‘Highly Suspect’s’.
Steven’s also sings of a dark past, although listening purely to the musical elements of the track ‘Mom’ you wouldn’t guess it to be so embedded with pain. On closer examination of the lyrics however Steven’s reveals maternal abandonment at an early age, when his mother “kissed him on the head and left me out for dead”. In the track Steven’s deplores “I’ve never known your love and I don’t want your love”. It’s a deep track, but Steven’s executes something so full of emotion in a way that disguises its tenderness.
Overall, ‘Highly Suspect’ are diverse in both subject matter and instrumental offerings, with a multifarious collection of tracks. The band continue to put out an array of music videos that offer unique audio and stunning visuals. ‘Highly Suspect’ keep getting better, and now, thanks to the Grammy debut they look set to keep rising.
Check them out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBwHtgQH2EQ