I've always found it fascinating that certain records and certain bands can conjure feelings for specific seasons. There are winter bands (Bon Iver; Tovo Amor; Gem Club i.e.) and then there are bands like High Highs, which are very much summer records. Summer records have a light, breezy feel to them; almost dreamlike.
Oli Chang and Jack Milas, from Sydney, Australia, comprise High Highs. They burst onto the scene with 2013's critically loved Open Season, getting deals to include their music in movies and commercials alike. So it was always going to be a bit of an uphill climb to deliver with their follow up. Cascades delivers, in virtually every way. They've expanded on their sound a bit with tracks like London, After The Rain having a much more folk sound to it than anything the bands ever done. While tracks like Sun and Cascades, the title track, offer more of an electronic beat. Most of the tracks seamlessly mix their signature up-beat electronic sound with some of their folk and indie pop influences, giving the record a warm, dream like sound. Boxing has a fantastic build to it, starting out as a soft, almost intimate track and building to a grand payoff.
Stand-out track Ocean To City will, once again, give this band a boost in terms of mass appeal. The track is begging to be in commercials and Indie films. It has such an infectious, up-beat sound that it's almost impossible to not tap your foot along to it.
Much of the record hinges on your enjoyment of "Dream-Pop" as it doesn't deviate from that formula too often. Most of the songs sound fairly similar to the track before it, with the exception of London, After The Rain, there's not much variety here. Which is a bit of a bummer considering how different Ocean To City and London... are, the rest of the album just kind of follows the same path.