Listen Up: Wednesday, January 11, 2006
files\2006-01-11\lup_1-11.jpg
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
The High School Assembly

The High School Assembly (Self-released)

By Caroline Collier

Along with Coma Rally, The February Chorus, and The Burning Hotels, The High School Assembly is Fort Worth’s latest supergroup. True to their name, the five guys in HSA create music to gather ‘round to. Yet instead of crowding into a quiet theater to be dressed down by a flat-footed principal, listeners are encouraged to meet at the nearest dive bar, where the only “guest speaker” is that cantankerous voice inside your skull that can’t stop making snide remarks. A preview to an upcoming full-length due in April, HSA’s eponymous three-song e.p. contains anthems for the unfocused, happily bitter generation.

Singer-guitarist Ryan Higgs’ inconsolable yet somehow peaceful voice runs over with controlled dissatisfaction at the status quo. His frustration is ably matched by music that, like a heated argument between friends, is full of slow build-ups, big explosions, and gentle landings. Formed by ex-Yellowbelly members Higgs and lead guitarist Jon Carney, the band apparently makes excellent use of the yin and yang between heavy-handed Voigt bassist Taylor Craig Mills and silky-fingered keyboardist Rob Miller. In the spaces between is drummer Neil Saunders, either pounding steadily or sprinkling fills as needed. (Saunders has since been replaced by Austin Green.)

The opening track “Unapologetic” is all loud guitars, the constant ring of cymbals crashing in counterpoint to a chugging rhythm line, and Higgs’ explicit statement that angst is the reason for his lack of apology. The last song, the very epic and Oasis-y “Carry On,” deals with the question of whether making pop music in this day and age is worth the time and energy it takes. (The answer, however, is in the song’s title.) “Time is all we have for now,” Higgs sings with just the right amount of resignation in his voice. “So shine out anything that’s real / Don’t wanna feel so down and out / About the things I did / So wrong. ... / Carry on, on, and on.” The soft, swaying, like-a-lullaby electric piano melody beneath evokes that often sickening/often glorious feeling of focusing on the negative while always — always — keeping one eye on hope.

Until you can get your mitts on the record (produced by Higgs, Derrick McDonald, and Bart Rose at First Street Audio), check out HSA live on Saturday at 8 p.m. at Competition Music (3320 E. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth; 817-535-2040) or on the radio on Sunday, when the boys make an appearance on The Good Show, broadcast on KTCU/88.7-FM from 9 p.m. ‘til midnight.


Email this Article...

Back to Top


Copyright 2002 to 2018 FW Weekly.
3311 Hamilton Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76107
Phone: (817) 321-9700 - Fax: (817) 335-9575 - Email Contact
Archive System by PrimeSite Web Solutions