Song: HighSchool – New York, Paris, and London review

by Chris Hatch


HighSchool’s latest single feels as though it’s been scooped up from the late 1980s and launched through time to the 2020s. Without an acoustic guitar or open chord in sight, New York, Paris, and London sees the Melbourne trio take the goth-pop of The Cure, and filter it through the spirited jangle of the C86 scene, and the dark, disquiet of Joy Division to create both an instant catchiness and an atmospheric noir.

There is some of the nostalgic poppiness of The Drums’ debut EP, along with elements of The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart’s monochromatic aesthetic, but lead singer, Rory, adds an impassioned air to the track – his distorted vocal taking on the timbre of early Julian Casablancas – without succumbing to the New Yorker’s sense of apathy and disinterest. In fact, there’s more than a touch of Morrissey’s anguished, teen pleas on a chorus that yearns of wanting to ‘be young again’ and just to ‘live his life’ against a back drop of synth strings.

The track plays with the idea that it’s eponymous destinations – New York, Paris, and London –  represent an out-of-reach allure, which is just as important as the reality of the places themselves. ‘Dreaming and manifesting is as meaningful as our ambitions coming to fruition,’ says band member, Lili – a feeling that comes through on the production and musicality on the record, and it’s the layer of naivety and frayed, rugged edges that hides grand, lofty ambitions. Recently signed to Dalliance Records, HighSchool are off to a brilliantly gloomy, shimmering start.

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