High Fascination defines my feeling towards the musicians whose music I love. Their name caught my attention, and their music kept me listening.
Miss Motorama starts with an arpeggiated guitar riff that instantly reminded me of Green Day. When the band jumped in, I thought, “Ah, there’s some Oasis.” We’re talking catchy music that wastes no time getting stuck in your head. “Full Speed Ahead” has a chorus that went through a descending pattern highlighted by tight harmonies very akin to The Beatles. They would fit very well on a bill with Sam Roberts or Sloan.
This was especially apparent on their second track, “Queen Anne,” that has a four on the floor syncopation from all instruments which reminds me of Britpop’s early 60s sound. They also threw some brass too, adding that shine that seems to complement all genres. Singer, Andrew Weiss’ singing style conjures Gerry Rafferty at times thanks to a smooth delivery. “All I Need” was next and brought a western flavour to the record for a song about a girl. It showcased Weiss’ vocal layering capabilities and ended surprisingly early, something I found refreshing.
The theme of love kept on rolling on “Mona Lisa’s Lament,” a ballad I can picture being played at some summer festival when the sun’s about to set. The production on this record is great, the layering of all the parts is done quite well on both the compositional, and mixing aspects. There are often many vocal layers, along with the bass, drums, and keyboard parts, yet everything can be heard clearly. A funky guitar part introduced the next song. It burst to life thanks to the aforementioned brass complemented by an organ and the band. If you like Fitz and the Tantrums, this one’s for you.
“23rd Street Blues” is a track that has a ton of energy and great sax; ’nuff said. So, the sun set, and someone’s got an acoustic guitar, singing a song. That’s “The Web I Spin,” the next tune on Miss Motorama. A song filled with melancholy and catchy hooks, High Fascination introduced a string section in the bridge, with writing that brought me back to The Beatles.
Since the keyboard parts are quite prevalent on this record, I asked the band who’d be playing them live—they’re currently seeking a keyboardist/second guitarist. Drums along with backup vocals on Miss Motorama come courtesy of Noah Rauchwerk, and the bass is delivered by Dan Hemerlein; two solid musicians who play great patterns that add depth to these great pop songs. Lyricism can make or break a song—and on “Save Yourself” High Fascination echoed Sam Roberts’ wordsmithing skills. A few of the drum fills also brought me back to the Montreal-born rocker’s music. “Change My Mind” brought forth the piano for a heartbroken ballad, complete with string section, guitar solo, breakdown and a buildup to the last chorus.
Near the end of the record, High Fascination headed down for some Southern rock on “Weight Of Love,” a bluesy track with fuzzy guitars that made me think of Rival Sons. A funky song followed with a bouncy bassline and interesting chord arrangements. “Sunset Strip” is a great example of how the instrumentation on Miss Motorama is greatly done, culminating with Carlos Santana vibes summoned at the guitar solo. “Born To Play The Fool” closes this catchy pop rock record with an acoustic guitar ballad that I’m sure couples will slowly dance to when it’s played live. If Beck’s Sea Change had been happier, it would sound like this. All in all, I’ll be listening to this record again.
Written by Dave Tone
*edited by Danielle Kenedy