The Highsides’ agonized frontman, Shane Alyward, is shaking off a seeming orbit of bad luck with his Vancouver punk band’s debut album; the kind that latches on to the weary and pisses over them like rainclouds of bad fortune.
Some Pretty Dark Thoughts lives up to its name. It’s a lyrical stew of traumas finding resolve through a cathartic hurricane of sound. The cigarette-smoker growl of Alyward gargles with a sense of desperation, freeing him from a mess, or series of messes, brought on by habitual choices and patterns.
“When I was writing it, I was in a really low place in my life,” says Alyward. “I was depressed and coping with it by self-medicating. As I continued to write while self-medicated, nothing I produced was coming out to a standard that I had set for myself. I decided to sober up at the time and writing the album became a healthier way of getting myself into a better place mentally. I think this is the best stuff I’ve ever written. Being in the headspace I was at the time, it just all came out so naturally.”
Musically, the record is a contrast. Whereas the lyrics are downtrodden and defeated, representative of Alyward’s past, the instrumentation and melodic arrangements are upbeat and catchy, a collection of moshable dance-abouts and chanty sing-alongs more inline with who he is today.
Some Pretty Dark Thoughts is a purification of sorts for Alyward, a purging of emotional baggage let on by a broken relationship and self-destructive tendencies. A dip into the river of rebirth, emerging with an art-piece that reminds you that we all have negatives and they can be flipped into positives.
The Highsides celebrate the release of Some Pretty Dark Thoughts with an album release party on March 6 at The Biltmore Cabaret (Vancouver) — RSVP