A few years back, I interviewed for a job in
Knoxville, TN and was struck by how much the city reminded me
of industrial towns in the Northeast. Although it is a college
town, Knoxville also has several factories nestled within the
hills of the Great Smoky Mountains, as well as a large percentage
of working class. If New Jersey were in the Confederacy, Knoxville
would be its capital. No wonder, then, that The High Score,
a new band from Knoxville, reminds me of a cross between Southern
emo pop, Bon Jovi, and Cheap Trick.
Donít get me wrong -- Iím not dissing the band at all. Sexy
Losers, their first release, is a fun rock album with
catchy tunes and clever lyrics about life in urban East Tennessee,
from childhood days listening to Motley Crew to late nights
of drinking and hanging out at The Pilot Light. The songs are
unpretentious and raucous, heavy on guitar but still boppy.
Highlights include Motley Who, the aforementioned song
of childhood, and Songs to Break Up To 95, a bangly and
cute love song with a funny lyrical twist. Like the culture
of most industrial towns, The High Scoreís music is gritty,
loud, and full of good times.
Sexy Losers is a fine first release but does
suffer a bit from melodic repetitiveness; I sometimes get the
choruses of various songs confused. Of course, this problem
is a frequent condition of first albums by any band, and The
High Score have the songwriting ability and raw talent to continue
expanding and evolving. I look forward to their next musical
narrative about Knoxville.