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Album Review

The High Violets were mere kiddies when bands like My Bloody Valentine and Ride were popular, chiefing the rise of shoegaze and dream pop within pockets of the U.K. and the U.S. Alas, the members of the High Violets found themselves making it their own nearly a decade after it tapered off. 44 Down relishes in climatic guitar work, spooling chaotic instrumentation inside a warm vocal soundscape. Kaitlyn Ni Donovan's icy cool vocals are classic, hauntingly similar to the beauty of Harriet Wheeler. The gossamer delight of "Sparkle" marks Ni Donovan's brightest moment. The simplicity of her voice allows the song itself to soar. The backing section of Clint Sargent (vocals/guitar), Allen Davis (bass), and Luke Strahota (drums) is exquisitely complimentary as well. "Fa" flows with grand electronic orchestration while "Wheel" churns to silvery percussion. 44 Down isn't exactly fresh, but it's solid. The High Violets essentially honor those who did it first while singing to their own tune. And they're equally enchanting in doing so.


Formed: 1999 in Portland, OR

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The High Violets combine swirling guitars, light vocals, and subtle electronic textures to create a calm, slightly grooving take on the classic early-'90s dream pop sound. The group formed after the 1998 breakup of the Bella Low, a fixture of Portland, Oregon's psychedelic indie rock scene. Guitarist/vocalist Clint Sargent, bassist/vocalist Violet Bianca Grace, and drummer Luke Strahota began playing gigs as the High Violets, but Grace was soon replaced by bassist Allen Davis, formerly of Echoplex....
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44 Down, The High Violets
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