High School - You Already Know (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

High School

You Already Know (2010)

Ghosts Like Me

High school doesn't seem like a time many of us in the punk scene really want to relive. For better or worse, though, it may have had a pretty significant effect on this Ohio pop-punk band; despite thousands of monikers that would offer way easier Google search results, they named themselves after it.

The type of pop-punk High School offers is slightly more complex, more riffy and raw in a way than one might guess based on their name. It's fast, the guitars are good enough, and there's plenty of energy. It's by no means original, and not always great of course. It's done well enough in most spots, like opener "Vicariously Offended", the head-bobbing dynamics to "New Leases", and the thoughtful, noodly intro to "In School Suspension". But then it surpasses sloppy, amateur points of contention in "Second Hand Chapstick", the sluggish "Summer Camp" or the poor-man's Screeching Weasel tilt to "Pool Party Death Trap" (which ends with some serious Latterman riff worship).

Then there are the lead vocals. At best, they're mediocre. At worst, they're incredibly grating. Like, if Chris Conley was 12 grating. After the promising intro to the aforementioned "In School Suspension", the singing comes in and it's just inexplicably bad–it's like some mix of snot, wheezing, higher pitches, and generally being off key. It's not that bad for most of the EP, but there's this congested quaver that just doesn't add the best quality to the songs. Also, the lyrics being sung are forthright and candid–which can really take a song in either direction. Take closer "Pool Party Death Trap"; isolate the last line, "I know it can be hard to show up some places," and it sounds like a moment borrowed from an earnest heart-to-heart with someone. But look at the rest of the song: "I said we would show up to the pool so you could see how all my friends are so cool." Oof.

One can sense what High School's going for (contrastingly simple and complex pop-punk with lots of heart and speed), but this isn't the best formula of it.

You Already Know EP