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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

Taking note from the likes of Ride, Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, and the Jesus & Mary Chain, the High Violets define their own swirling dream pop. Clint Sargent (vocals/guitar), Kaitlyn Ni Donovan (guitar/vocals), Allen Davis (bass), and Luke Strahota (drums) formed in the hip pockets of Portland, OR, in the late '90s, emerging from the ashes of the Bella Low and Echoplex. By the new millennium, the group was recording for the Irish label Reverb Records. They contributed their song "Fa" to the...
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44 Down, The High Violets
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