Right out of the gate U.S. Highball join the renaissance of great Scottish jangle poprock with their debut, the aptly named Great Record. The 14 songs included here immediately draw comparisons with the best of Teenage Fanclub, Dropkick, and The Boys with the Perpetual Nervousness. Perhaps that shouldn’t be surprising as Calvin Halliday and James Hindle have long played together in the delightfully whimsical group, The Pooches. Yet U.S. Highball is not merely a rebranding of their previous efforts, but a logical development of those influences. Great Record leans more heavily on a Brydsian jangle and a complex use of the duo’s voices on songs that alternate effortlessly between hooky popcraft and hints of highland folk. Case in point – these twin influences meld beautifully on “Summer Boy” with its distinctive jangle lead line opener. Or another candidate for lead single might be “My Frankenstein” with its swinging chorus. Then again, I love the mid-period Simon and Garfunkel vibe of “Old Place.” But then hear how the duo change things up with the rock-pop groove on “Where’d the Century Go?” Overall, you can get a clear sense of what U.S. Highball is doing by checking out how the band bookend the album. They open and close the record with their distinctive folk poprock sound on “Kelvinhall” and “Old Dumbarton Road,” leaning a bit more on the folk side of the equation.
Great Record is 28 minutes of jangle-folkish poprock good times. And don’t miss their 2018 EP Think Again, which contains three more highly listenable tunes. Just click on the Bandcamp link above to complete your collection.