Music that hugs you while giving you something to think about is a rare combination. With their debut album “Like the Day”, HIGHBOY combine comfort and thoughtfulness in a gentle, yet extremely powerful way.
HIGHBOY emerged from a 25-year-long personal and musical friendship between a singer and songwriter Pernille Loumann and a multi-instrumentalist Jacob Falk, who have both been in different bands before. With the new project, they created a remarkable universe of sound and lyrics. “I’m not an archaeologist / I’m a poetic activist,” sings Pernille Loumann in the opening track “What Empires”. This line is a perfect summary of “Like the Day”; this album touches on real-life issues with a poetic twist. Lyrics are the power of this LP. Gently cuddled with music, they blossom in every song, leaving me wondering about the world and looking within myself, time after time. Whenever I dive into HIGHBOY’s music, I emerge with different conclusions. However, the feeling of a shelter to go to when I feel overwhelmed is permanent throughout this record.
There is something familiar about the tender guitars on “Like the Day”. They have an element of cheesiness that is so well-balanced, it adds to the feeling of comfort, security, and sounds like home. You don’t need to struggle to find your place in these songs. They keep the door open, invite everyone in for a while, sit down at the kitchen table, drink tea, chat, listen to others, enjoy the hyggelig atmosphere and soak in all the beauty, complexity, roughness and mystery of life. Songs like “Hush, hush, Harriet” or “Shineboy” are spring and summer locked into a collection of sounds. “I Don’t Want This” and “I Had You” create a vibe of Danishnesss; this quiet, calm melancholy.
The true gems are “What Empires” and the title track. Here, you can fully admire the songwriting and lyrical force of HIGHBOY. The complexity of arrangement and intriguing, poetic lines sung with a touching tremble reach the deepest, most intimate parts of one’s soul. Especially “Like the Day”, touching on the inevitability of death, is particularly thought-provoking. This music made me come back to Olga Tokarczuk’s book “House of Day, House of Night”. “Like the Day” is somewhat a musical equivalent of the way Tokarczuk intertwines stories and thoughts in the book.
“Like the Day” is an album close to the Earth, to life in its clearest form, while flying high to the sky and dreamland at the same time. HIGHBOY’s songs are filled with rays of sun, soft breeze, smell of freshly-cut grass, and the street after the rain. However, a human is still in the centre. HIGHBOY address struggles, joys, and dig deep into the human nature. They do it in a graceful, unobtrusive way. You can listen to “Like the Day” and leave it behind. But if it touches you like it touched me, it will serve as your security blanket many times before you move on to something else.