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The Higher Release Electrifying Comeback Album, ‘Elvis in Wonderland’

On October 14, Las Vegas-based pop rock band, The Higher, released Elvis in Wonderland, a comeback EP that marks their first release since 2009. The electrifying five-song collection finds the band at their most mature and assertive, with enough style and substance to appeal to existing and new fans alike. Donning high energy, alluring charisma, and bombastic defiance, The Higher’s EP dares listeners to live like there’s no tomorrow.

The EP, produced by Mike Pepe, is amped right out of the gate with the title track, “Elvis in Wonderland,” one of my favorites. The song explores the allure of nightlife and its intoxicating escape from a less than pleasant reality. In a gritty, pleasure-seeking town that “smells like sin and sex” with bottomless “cheap drinks and cigarettes,” people have never felt more alive.

“My god, I feel sensational / Your love so insatiable / I feel the gravity pulling me into you,” lead singer Seth Trotter, an original band member, sings in the chorus. When Trotter delivers the subsequent lines – “And I’m feeling good / Can you feel it, too?” – his declaration seems to extend beyond the song itself to his being back in the game after a 13-year hiatus. Reggie Ragan, also an original member, and George Lind round out the band’s lineup on guitar and drums, respectively.

Propelled by the lines, “I have had enough / My eyes won’t open up / Where’s my Lady Luck? / I need something to wake the fuck up,” the song’s bridge provides further proof that “Elvis in Wonderland” is an arena-worthy anthem. If you listen hard enough, you can almost hear fans screaming along at a live show, compliments of the track’s vocal chorus effect.

Inevitably, listeners get lost in the feeling of “Elvis in Wonderland.” Even more than the lyrics, the song’s instrumentation creates this magnetic energy. Effortlessly blending dance pop, rock, and R&B, the track is pure adrenaline, featuring killer guitar riffs, driving drums, and a standout bass line.

The four remaining songs on Elvis in Wonderland continue the momentum of the EP’s opener. Symbolically, the decision to keep listeners on a perpetual high is fitting, as it allows them to avoid facing the realities of the present and future.

“Free Ride,” the EP’s lead single, showcases the band’s emo roots, and the contributions of the bass are especially noteworthy. “If you’re in it for a free ride / Hate to let you down / This love is like a war cry / And I’m breaking out,” Trotter sings. “Free Ride” sets the record straight on a relationship that is one-sided at best complicated by “mixed signs” and desperate attention-seeking ploys. Listeners get the feeling that self-centered behavior is in vogue within this environment.

The accompanying music video for “Free Ride,” produced by Alex Bemis, features Elvis. The track juxtaposes dark lyrical themes with upbeat instrumentation, capturing the tangled web of emotions in relationships regardless of how superficial. “‘Free Ride’ is about manipulation and disingenuous intentions lyrically,” explained Trotter. “Musically, it’s a very hopeful song. Kinda tune that makes you wanna jump in your car with the windows down and just drive because you feel free.”

Another one of my favorites on the EP, “Are We High?”, offers a breather, basking listeners in summertime vibes. The downtempo nature of the track allows melodic electric guitar, warm electric piano, and Trotter’s powerful vocals to shine. “Got my hair down, feeling like summertime / Sky burning bright like neon lights / Long summer nights, looking eye to eye / Fireflies, are we high?” he sings. The love in “Are We High?” feels less like debauchery and more like the bliss of young love. Although the lovers give all of themselves to each other, they realize there is no guarantee that their relationship will stand the test of time.

The Higher are no strangers to the music scene. Formed in 2002, the band released three albums prior to their break in 2012, with backing from Fiddler Records, Epitaph Records, and Sony Japan. The Higher has toured extensively with Panic! at the Disco, Motion City Soundtrack, The Temper Trap, and more.

With Elvis in Wonderland, The Higher have returned stronger than ever. Their time out of the limelight has no doubt been full of discovery and growth, and it shows in a compelling way. Check out the music video for “Free Ride” below, and catch The Higher on the road during their fall tour at a city near you. Discover more new music on our Alchemical Multigenre Mixdown playlist on YouTube and Spotify

Cynthia Gross

Maryland-based singer-songwriter Cynthia Gross seeks to inspire an awakening to all we are and all we can become. With a passion for language in all of its forms and more than a decade of experience as a professional ghostwriter, she is a light seeker who understands the power of each individual’s voice to create positive, meaningful change.

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