This April I wrote a calendar item on The High Strung that's still in circulation among The A.V. Club's local concert calendars:
Hooks can’t exist without repetition, as The High Strung knows almost too well. Each song on the Detroit band’s recent Get The Guests shrink-wraps a few key phrases into three-minutes-or-less packages. It can make the band’s breezy songcraft sound a little trivial, but plenty of maturity shows through even in a sound this compressed, thanks to skittering basslines, impossibly pop-perfect vocals, and charmingly dopey wordplay (“Rimbaud /Rambo” is as delirious as the title suggests).Indeed, the hooks come pretty fucking fast and the songs are shockingly tight, thanks to THS's near-constant touring and writing. Granted, this is a kind-enough blurb, but the "almost too well" was an intended backhand. For whatever reason, I wasn't in the mood for THS frontman Josh Malerman's lean, fast tunes and subtly wanted to warn readers of the danger of hook-poisoning, or something. After a few more (voluntary) listens Get The Guests also reveals its dark humor and variety, from the frantic shuffle of "He's Got No Soul" to the badass swagger of "The Baddest Ship." "Shrink-wrapped"? "Compressed"? More accurately, it's a travel-sized artillery of solid pop.