EP Name: Characters
Artist: The Hi-Tops
Released: May 2023
Label: SODEH Records
Change of the Season
Peaches and Cream
Alberta alt hard rockers The Hi-Tops have recently released sophomore EP 'Characters' which stands as a powerful representation of the current climate of indie rock. Arriving on the scene in 2019, Calgary's The Hi-Tops have become known for their rowdy on-stage performance while also delivering a delicate sense of tenderness and precision. After being around for only a few months the band had already won the Cowboys Calgary Music Competition and played the Big Winter Classic, which saw them open for artists such as, Ron Gallo, Bully and the Garry's. The Hi-Tops dropped their first EP in March of 2022 and this has already accumulated almost 50,000 streams on Spotify alone. The Hi-Tops are a really cool band that I am happy to have had the chance to discover. 'Characters' is an EP full of relatable emotions and various lows and highs that'll keep you wanting more. Opening track 'Shiver' introduces you to The Hi-Tops sound. It's modern rock but with a sort of classic tone. I couldn't help but think that it's like if Motley Crue were a modern alt-punk band. This one is fast and attention grabbing, a perfect opener and easily one of my favourites on 'Characters'.
"A poignant exploration of the misunderstood artist archetype often exploited by major music media labels... a narrative that exposes the corporate cliches surrounding mental illness, which are employed to fuel media campaigns." - (Kole Halvorson on 'Shiver')
Next up is probably my overall favourite on 'Characters', 'Change of the Season'. This one is catchy with a really attractive flow. Full of smart lyricism talking about the aftermath of a breakup 'Change of the Season' is relatable and delivers a healthy dose of anger and emotion which is thrown right in your face.
"...delves into the somber aftermath of losing a significant other and the profound impact it can have on one's entire being." - (Kole Halvorson on 'Change of the Season')
The third track comes in the form of an infectious love note. 'Peaches and Cream' is vibrant, punchy and could be very popular in the modern alt/indie scene. This one also comes with a new music video that I will link below this review to check out. The video was shot and directed by Oliver @Oliverharryclarke and filmed at a vintage clothing store, NewishYYC in Calgary, Alberta.
"...captures the raw joy and fulfillment that comes from having someone to love. This track brims with infectious neo-pop hooks while maintaining the bands alternative rock essence." - (Kole Halvorson on 'Peaches and Cream')
The next two tracks on the 'Characters' EP feel the rockiest to me. Both are catchy but 'Criminal' in particular is a standout track on the EP whereas 'Pretender' is more in line with the other five tracks. 'Criminal' is the hardest, heaviest, fastest and most rowdy.
"...themes of betrayal, longing, and the insatiable desire for a lost lover. It builds into a soaring stadium anthem that propels the listener on a thrilling sonic journey." - (Kole Halvorson on 'Criminal')
Closing the EP is 'Old Enough' which has a pretty important message about dating in the modern world. I lyrically enjoyed this one, but the slowed down groove style wasn't particularly up my street. It's a slow kind of soul indie track that makes for a calming ending to 'Characters' but I'm just not a fan of this style in general, for anyone that is, this is probably a pretty good track much like everything else.
"A captivating and slowed-down intimate groove that raises questions about the current state of the dating scene. With its introspective lyrics and soulful melody, the song prompts contemplation on the evolving dynamics of romantic relationships." - (Kole Halvorson on 'Old Enough')
"As a whole 'Characters' stands as a powerful representation of the current climate of Indie Rock, offering a refined and polished glimpse into the world of The Hi-Tops" - (Kole Halvorson on 'Characters')
Overall, I think that 'Characters' is a pretty great second EP. As is normal there's songs I like more than others but I would happily return to this EP as a whole again and again. Honestly I'm surprised that more people haven't heard of The Hi-Tops yet as I feel they are a group that could be popular and fit perfectly into the indie/alt rock scene all over the world.
'Peaches and Cream' (Video)
Listen to 'Characters' HERE
The Hi-Tops are
Kole Halvorson: Vocals & Guitar Luke Lepine: Guitar Chandler Billinghurst: Bass Will Hitchings: Drums
The Hi-Tops online