Highasakite – Camp Echo

Propeller Recordings | 2016

Norway’s Highasakite is a phenomenal band with a sound that is hard to describe unless visualised and physically heard. Their new album Camp Echo is named after one of the detention camps at Guantanamo Bay. Being named after a piece of history, it’s difficult to know what to expect, but at the same time, it’s so bravely spot-on for Highasakite.

‘My Name Is Liar’ opens the album with an eerie ghost-and-glass combination of vocals and synthesiser. The echoes in the chorus are almost hypnotising, morphing lead singer Ingrid Håvik’s voice into a spooky chant. A techno-inspired bridge allows the track to draw its chilling chorus briskly into ‘Samurai Swords’. Its vocals are gorgeous, brave and deep. They power over the electric, thunder-inspired undertones of the track, building up layers of sound. Håvik’s vocals are soulful and bold in this track, but her signature gutsy vocals take the stage in ‘Someone Who’ll Get It’. Their sparkly indie pop sound comes forward with the extra percussion.

‘My Mind Is a Bad Neighbourhood’, on the other hand, veers more towards electric dance territory, with whirring, electronic beats quite prominent. An instrumental bridge with sonic sounds, reminiscent of the Matrix soundtrack, roll into an abrupt end. This flows into ‘God Don’t Leave Me’, a soft, angelic and hymn-like track that makes grand use of layered choral vocals. It’s a subtle interlude in-between tracks.

With a more upbeat, CHVRCHES-style sound, ‘Golden Ticket’ serves as a somewhat more positive gateway to the album’s end. It’s chirpy and well-rounded, which gives rise to the second-to-last track ‘Deep Sea Diver’. It’s anyone’s guess that such a quirky track would be towards the end of this album, but what is more surprising is ‘Chernobyl’, sealing the lid on the album as a much deeper, storytelling piece that spans decades of experience and thought.

Camp Echo is a distilled political statement, a blurred line between pain and recovery. It’s another deep etch from the unsurprisingly flawless Highasakite. It deserves several listens to really let it run deep, but it’s an album you simply cannot ignore.

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