“Cascades”, the title of the second record from the Brooklyn group High Highs, could be read in a number of ways. It could be taken as a nod to the group’s hometown — the coastal Australian city of Sydney, which rests against the beautiful, blue Pacific Ocean. Or it could be a nod to the record’s sound, which retains the broad scope of the group’s debut, Open Season, but feels bigger, and grander – sheets of sound, raining down softly. In reality, though, the title is a memory – a moment Jack Milas and Oli Chang remember while driving through the Cascade Mountains on tour.
The song it comes from, also called, “Cascades,” is bright and expansive, silver threads of guitar laced through soft layers of synths. It builds softly and steadily, Milas’ voice swooping up to an aching falsetto on the chorus, synths pooling gently beneath him. More than anything else, the song is an indication of how far the group has come in a short period of time – from working together in a recording studio in Australia to opening for Sky Ferreira and Vampire Weekend.
Cascades is a portrait of a band in ascent, making music grand enough to carry them along the way.