The High Water Marks
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The High Water Marks

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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music



It seems that some combination of the Elephant 6 Collective delivers a new set of melodic pop antics on a monthly basis, so it's hard to know which discs are essential. No doubt, most are worth the listen and some are instant classics. If you're a fan of Apples in Stereo or Oranger (High Water Marks incorporates personnel from both, and then some), it's a done deal - you will almost definitely enjoy the bouncy California ensemble's debut. The question is whether Songs About the Ocean compares to masterpieces like the Apples' Fun Trick Noisemaker or Her Wallpaper Reverie.

Happily, Songs About the Ocean leans more toward punk power-pop than psychedelia. Even so, catchy analog organ melodies are woven into song structures with aplomb. Examples of the Marks' songcraft talent are "Have Another Dream," which warrants a Dressy Bessy comparison with its sweetness (without drifting into saccharine territory) and "Suicide," which benefits from complementary boy-girl vocals and a simple, hummable melody. - Venus / Katherine Gorell


Songs About The Ocean, 2004


Feeling a bit camera shy


Hilarie Sidney said she always wanted her own band, but didn’t have the time. Known for her brilliant work as the drummer for The Apples in Stereo, Hilarie met Per Ole Bratset in Norway during an Apples tour in 2002. After listening to Per’s band Palermo, Hilarie was impressed and inspired by his songwriting.

“I asked Per to trade 4-track tapes of songs through the mail with me,” said Hilarie. “The tapes would come from Norway to Kentucky and I’d dump them into my laptop and then send the tapes back to Per in Oslo. We sent three songs back and forth through the mail until we realized it would be more effective for me to come to Oslo and record.”

Traveling to Norway with her laptop and a few microphones in her backpack, Hilarie recorded the rest of the album’s songs with Per in a hotel room in Oslo. “It was really cool recording in the hotel in Oslo though the maids would wonder what we were doing with all the mics and stands around the room,” explained Hilarie.

Even with the Atlantic Ocean between Hilarie and Per, their collaborative songwriting flourished. And thus, The High Water Marks was born. Their debut, Songs About The Ocean on Eeenie Meenie Records, is the product of their sparkling combined efforts with Hilarie and Per playing all the instruments on the album.

From the jangling drive of album opener “Good I Feel Bad” to the fuzzy swell and open-aired elation of “Queen of Verlaine,” the High Water Marks play with the intensity of a shimmering and distortion-saturated supernova . On songs like “Five Thousand” and “Suicide” the band demonstrates their grace and precision on sweeter melodies but without losing their distinctive energetic blossoms. At times raw and buzzing, other times pastoral and swaying with Hilarie’s mellifluous vocals, Songs About The Ocean is instantly compelling, heartfelt and just downright irresistible.

The High Water Marks include Jim Lindsay (Oranger, Preston School of Industry) on drums and Mike Snowden (Von Hemmling) on bass. Per has moved to Lexington so all members of the band reside in Kentucky, which shortens the distance between Hilarie and Per’s songwriting and recording.

“Per and I both have this fascination with water and the ocean,” said Hilarie on the band’s name and title of the album. “I love being in front of the band and playing guitar. I love playing drums, too. I love living in Kentucky. It’s perfect except we’re far away from any shoreline.”

So what if Kentucky is a long way from the ocean? The High Water Marks’ Songs About The Ocean is drenched with swirling tides of luminous melodies and will lovingly transport listeners to blissful and welcoming pop seas.