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ROYAL HEADACHE – HIGH

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After battling rumors that they’d broken up, Australia’s favorite sons, Royal Headache, returned stronger than ever with their second record, High. The soul singer indie-punk of the self-titled album is reigned in creating a tighter, stronger album from a more refined aesthetic. The sound is a little fuzzier, embracing the garage punk hinted at in self-titled but expanding those elements through 90s top 40 alt. rock and Britpop leanings. The result feels something like The Mantles covering the Goo Goo Dolls. While “Carolina” and “Love Her If I Tried” embrace the alt. rock influences and “My Own Fantasy” sounds like a lost late britpop classic, Shogun’s vocals are as soulful as ever on tracks like “Wouldn’t You Know.” If you liked the first album, you should love the follow-up; everything here feels more focused. High, released by What’s Your Rupture?, made it onto numerous best of lists in 2015, and rightfully so. Let us hope they avoid further rumors, or realities, of a breakup.

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