The Higher - It's Only Natural (Cover Artwork)

The Higher

The Higher: It's Only NaturalIt's Only Natural (2009)
Epitaph Records

Reviewer Rating: 0.5

Contributed by: SloaneDaleySloaneDaley
(others by this writer | submit your own)

It's Only Natural, eh? Natural? Is that a reference to the windswept locks on the cover of this album coyly indicating that the drapes do in fact match the carpet? Or is it natural referring to the totally kewl Magnum P.I. t-shirt and sport coat look that exactly half of this band is rocking on that.
iTunes StoreAmazon

It's Only Natural, eh? Natural? Is that a reference to the windswept locks on the cover of this album coyly indicating that the drapes do in fact match the carpet? Or is it natural referring to the totally kewl Magnum P.I. t-shirt and sport coat look that exactly half of this band is rocking on that same cover, as if to say to us "It is a completely randomly occurring event that we showed up on this beach in matching and colour-coded clothing, honestly, we swear it."? Still it might be a reference to how they hope to organically meld the sounds of emo, pop and R&B. Well, Big Daddy Kane once told me as a little girl that there ain't no half-steppin' and these cats aren't fooling anyone; their whole style and sound is deliberately manufactured to appeal to the lowest common denominator of music listener.

Emo? Pop? R&B? If you are anticipating a mind-blowing mix of Indian Summer, the Format and vinatage Isley Brothers you will be sorely disappointed. Songs like "Try Again" and "Burn and Turn" point to a sanitized version of Fueled By Ramen styled nĂ¼-emo-pop complete with drooping synths and slick over-produced vocals. They are songs conveying some vague emotion about someone somewhere doing something. Some might call it universality but those people are deluded by the comfy feeling of the business end of a pole courtesy of their wishy-washy fence-sitting. These songs are simply junk.

Acknowledging that there are different strokes and sucks for different folks you might be asking yourself "This album can't pull my heartstrings but it is a pop record so can it at least help me sing along as I flaunt my station and privilege with a relaxing drive to the mall to meet my peeps?" Unfortunately, the straight-up pop songs are best described as sort-of-kind-of-melodic fluff lacking real catchiness. Take the title track: It ends up sounding like a third-rate Wham! ripoff, and if it wasn't for a halfway decent guitar solo it'd be utterly useless. We get it boys, you like `80s and `90s top 40 vocal group music. Here is a hint: You are doing it wrong. I'd almost rather watch Donnie Wahlberg's geriatric ass gyrate on stage than listen to these "songs."

By far my biggest gripe with this album is the band's assertion that it is in any way an R&B outfit. The one-two open-handed slap of "Other Options" and "Undertaker" sniffs at that crotch Justin Timberlake except without talent of producers like Timbaland and Neptunes or JT's sense of melody and range. Rhythm? I guess, but I wouldn't want to see any of these guys dance. Blues? To borrow from George Carlin: These guys are the reason people get the blues.

This album might be satisfying if your parents played Toto albums for you while you were in the womb thinking it was soulful. It's Only Natural is the Crystal Pepsi of music, calculated marketing of the original but without the ability to stick with you because it doesn't even have that ability to sickeningly stain your teeth with its sweet pop. It is only made worse that this isn't the Higher's first attempt at music. Pass on this unless you are intentionally trying to make sure other people don't want to have a conversation with you ever again and you loathe human contact. Stick with Panic! [sic] At the Disco, friends.


Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
OnMyWayToHell (November 13, 2009)

I'm tweeting this review.

conebone69 (July 14, 2009)

People would laugh at the notion of this being released on Epitaph ten years ago

paulrulzdood (July 14, 2009)

so do these guys sound more like the Voodoo Glow Skulls or more like Pennywise? just trying to figure out where they fit on the Epitaph roster. I'm guessing by the cover that they're like a cross between the aesthetics of NOFX with more of a Bouncing Souls Jersey-shore vibe. they kind of have the TSOL thing going too, with the haircuts.

pretty sure they all have UK Subs & Aus Rotten patches on the back of their blazers, FYI.


nocigar (July 13, 2009)

honestly, that is the funniest cover art I have ever seen. When I saw it under the "Reviews" section on the side of the site, I already knew what the score would be before I clicked on it.

OverDefined (July 12, 2009)

Oh Epitaph

Babrook (July 11, 2009)

Score is for Creed's 1999 smash-hit, Higher.

damnitsderek (July 11, 2009)

Most unnecessary review of 2009. Score is for the reviewer's use of time.

GlassPipeMurder (July 10, 2009)

probably one of the few bands on here to have three releases all with a 1/10 score.

mattramone (July 10, 2009)

Did Brett go deaf and now just listen to whatever 12 years olds tell him in MySpace messages?

mevsall (July 10, 2009)

According to their MySpace page: "If Justin Timberlake were a band, he'd be The Higher."

scorpiondeathlock (July 10, 2009)

score is for the movie Problem Child, in which im pretty sure the leadsinger starred in as a child.

seriously, classic movie.

crackerevan (July 10, 2009)

everything about this band irks me.

Medley (July 10, 2009)

Had to read this review when I saw the godawful boy-band album cover. Epitaph records has sunken so low that at this point even the artists on Anti- should be embarrassed (as well as those who buy their records). Really, you couldn't want to distance yourself enough from this shit.

spec (July 10, 2009)

Another fantastic Epitaph band. This label continues to put out stripped down, honest, working-class punk.

NewKid (July 10, 2009)

Weren't these guys a screamo clone band?


RedElephant (July 10, 2009)

how is this on Epitaph?

score is for this band.

Dante3000 (July 10, 2009)

The t-shirt and sport coat was Mami Vice. Mustaches and short shorts were Magnum PI.

Get it right, you dick!

detachedretina (July 10, 2009)

I remember liking the EP on Fiddler, of course I listened to some questionable shit back then.

Exclusive Streams

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Managing Editor

Adam White

Contributing Editors

Kira Wisniewski Brittany Strummer Armando Olivas John Flynn Chris Moran John Gentile Mark Little

Copy Editor

Adam Eisenberg Britt Reiser

Podcast Producer

Greg Simpson


Aubin Paul

ISSN 1710-5366

© Copyright 1999-2013 Punknews.org

Terms of Use Privacy Policy Contact Us About Punknews.org

Other Places to Go