a review from still single blog/dusted
Took a break from these guys for a while due to their shriller-not-thriller take on practice space garage rock, high on piercing noise but short on worthwhile songs. Friends & Relatives shows a considerable amount of development in however long it?s been, an affable and strummy collection that flirts with thoughtful improvisation and a warmth I didn?t think this group could summon. My colleague Andrew Earles bemoans the creeping influence of New Zealand pop in modern music, particularly on the garage-rock axis, which is where Estrogen Highs is known to reside. I can?t really fault this development ? it sounds like these guys really got into the Chills, the Bats, the Clean and the Verlaines in the ensuing time between releases, and it?s made a mark on their stance and songwriting, but I cannot find fault in such a development; if you?re going to learn from something, why not some of the most humane and inspiring pop music of our times? Furthermore, the work accomplished here shows a band that?s truly digested said influences and worked them into their vernacular. The one wonderful thing about Kiwi pop on that axis is that it?s incredibly hard to duplicate verbatim, even intentionally. Hell, the Clean doesn?t even sound like the Clean until halfway into the set. Besides, anything taken too literally is usually off the mark as well. What a band like Estrogen Highs does is the product of a state of mind, and it?s a good one at that. Great turnaround from this Connecticut crew. Paste-on sleeve. (http://grameryrecords.blogspot.com)
new review from mrr
I don't know a lot of muddy pop bands from New Haven, CT, so it seems these guys are filling a nice gap. "Re-commencement Speech" swiftly kicks some '80s Flying Nun feelings for those partial to the SNEAKY FEELINGS, the CLEAN, et al. These's a small, introverted and self contained world of fun shining through much of this LP: "I Am Tradition," "Silly Marvels" and the triumphant "Wille the Inventor" work on building a quaint universe like R. STEVIE MOORE did. Still, the shuffling guitars and lovably sloppy delivery will remind listeners of the carefree coastal vibes from New Zealand, gat, splat, gat snares thumping, jangly electricity and naive vocals borrow the best from that region and make something neatly their own. A great little gem, hoping to see more. (JS)
and from chuck barrels "mindless contentment" column
You know, it's funny that I'm trying to shoehorn this whole class/character thing as a segue for various records and bands in this column, because it's actually turning out to be true...Connecticut might not have the biggest scene in the country, but ESTROGEN HIGHS might have some of the biggest hearts. One of "those" bands that keep their scene alive and kicking by sheer force of will and hard work: establishing venues, running labels, bringing in out-of-town bands, being in a jillion bands... unstoppable energy and positive attitude without being self-righteous or cocky. Just doing it for the love of the game. These fine young gentleman have just self released the tellingly titled "Friends and Relatives," their sophomore LP, and it's a further extension of their already admirable and unassuming workmanlike aesthetic. These fellas aren't all about singeing your eyebrows with velocity and doubling you over with sludge and scuzz; they're about crafting a really personable and subliminally catchy batch of no-frills and low-fidelity garage rock. Understated is a word that I've often used to describe them in the past, and I just used it again. Deceptively hooky and almost quietly rocking, this LP is full of soulful introspection and songs that feel more alive in their subdued tempos than any 100mph punk band does. No showing off here, just a talented group of kids going out there every day, doing their job and mowing them down. Paste-on sleeves give it a little extra homestyle flair. Future Hall of Famers, these youngsters.
available from (or soon to be) the following distros...
and the following record stores definitely have it...
All Day (Carrboro, NC)
Black Water (PDX)
Dreadful sounds (Columbus, OH)
End of an Ear (Austin)
Extreme Noise (MPLS)
Green Noise (PDX)
Recycled (Denton, TX)
Used Kids (Columbus, OH)
Thrill House (SF)
distros/stores get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org for copies.