Songs About The Ocean
By: Eric Greenwood
Just barely too fuzzy to be called twee, The High Water Marks straddle the line between light Elephant 6 psychedelia and the preciousness of pretty much any band on Darla. With The Apples In Stereo drummer Hilarie Sidney moving from behind the kit onto guitar and vocals, it's a surprisingly aggressive affair, but the sickly sweet boy/girl vocal interplay firmly cements its place in the indie pop domain. The fuzzed-out rocker "Good I Feel Bad" is a misleading opener. Sidney's sugarcoated voice rides the power pop guitars and charging backbeat with hooks aplenty, but, unfortunately, no other song on the album surges with such vigor. Sidney's male foil, vocalist Per Ole (Palermo), bears a striking resemblance to Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, and his deadpan delivery balances out Sidney's little girl lilt, which is the aural equivalent of eating too much cotton candy. The fact that the band calls Kentucky home may be at odds with a name like The High Water Marks (not to mention an album entitled Songs about the Ocean), but the saccharine melodies and jangly grind should divert your attention away from such trivialities. It's harmless, unaffecting pop with reference points ranging from Guided By Voices to The Beach Boys to Superchunk.