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It's Only Natural (Bonus Track Version)

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Album Review

The Radio Disney crowd had an appetite for emo as well as R&B-minded teen pop in the mid- to late 2000s. So why not bring the two together? That's what the Higher (who started out as a run-of-the-mill emo band) had in mind when they moved in a more urban-flavored direction on 2007's On Fire, and the Las Vegas residents continue in that vein on It's Only Natural. The sound on this 2009 release is basically the Click Five by way of Justin Timberlake, which means there are hints of Michael Jackson at times. This is the sound of a boy band trying to be deeper and more mature while maintaining their boyishness. That type of thing was compelling when the Jackson Five and Stevie Wonder were gradually making the transition from teen idols to adult stars back in the day, but then, the Higher aren't the Jackson Five or Stevie Wonder (not that they ever claimed to be). On It's Only Natural, the Higher still have plenty of Radio Disney appeal and sound like they would fit right in playing a gig on Prom Night. But that doesn't mean that It's Only Natural is without merit. In fact, likeable grooves such as "Undertaker," "Story of a Man Obsessed," "Play with Fire," and "The Black Dress" are a definite improvement over the group's earlier recordings. When the Higher were a straight-ahead emo band and didn't have the urban/teen pop/Timberlake influence, they were totally generic and forgettable. But on It's Only Natural, their desire to balance emo, urban, and teen pop considerations makes for grooves that aren't mind-blowing but are at least fairly catchy (in a Radio Disney kind of way).


Formed: 2002 in Las Vegas, NV

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Las Vegas' the Higher formed in 2002, originally known as September Star, a high-school band consisting of vocalist Seth Trotter, drummer Pat Harter, guitarist James Mattison, and bassist Jason Centeno. Things got more serious the following year with the addition of second guitarist/vocalist Tom Oakes; the guys began playing locally and eventually recorded a demo comprised of songs they'd written when they were 16. It was enough to land a deal with Fiddler Records in mid-2003, and after the band...
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It's Only Natural (Bonus Track Version), The Higher
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