Heroes and Halos opens with two sharp hits on the snare, like two quick blows to the head, and then you’re inside and it’s happening all around you. ‘How I Love (Everything About You)’ stops you in your tracks. The High Violets make you put down that chocolate chip muffin and listen.
These dreampop vets sound like a delirious mix of Lush and Slowdive, and their fifth album finds them looking to the skies, a cathedral of color, a stadium of sound. Listen to the way the chorus in ‘Long Last Night’ keeps climbing and climbing until your agoraphobia kicks in and you have to grab onto something to keep from falling out of your chair.
Then there’s the sinister groove of ‘Longitude,’ the majestic bliss of ‘Ease On,’ one great song after another, all awash in hooks that swoon and dive.
The album ends with the sparse burned-out waltz of ‘Hearts In Our Throats.’ Kaitlyn ni Donovan’s vocals accompanied by a hollow drum machine—it sounds like the sun coming up after a night of sensory overload, when all you want to do is sleep but your brain won’t stop spinning and so there’s nothing to do but look out the window and contemplate the future, your breath forming patterns against the glass, as another morning arrives.
They’re from Portland, Oregon. They’ve been doing this for years. They know where all your buttons are and exactly how to push them. Like an open-mouth kiss, an unexpected present from a secret admirer, Heroes and Halos makes your ears ring with joy and your heart thump with wonder. It’s the greatest moment in a career of great moments. It’s The High Violets. It’s happening.