Here Come - The High Learys (Off The Hip/Soundflat)
Freakbeat doesn’t swing much more than than this. Perth’s High Learys are children of the ‘60s, metaphorically speaking, from their meticulously ruffled haircuts down to the pointy tips of their winkle-picker boots. If such retrofitting offends your sensibilities, leave now.
Look at the cover. Is that a bunch of death metalists, summoning down bats? The thing about being a band of throwbacks is that it’s hard to sound original in any way. The High Learys realise this and don’t even try. They don’t just play songs that sound like The Zombies, they look like them. They wear their guitars around their necks. No screaming Strats in evidence. Marshall guitar rigs are out. They have a Vox endorsement. If Mod was a religion in Western Australia they’d be lining up for a tax rebate and if Perth had a Carnaby Street, they’d move there.
Which is not to say The High Learys are feeble copyists. Far from it. They’re good copyists. They’re trapped in a ‘60s prison of their own creation - and that’s how they like it.
The High Learys have only been around for 10 minutes but they’ve already toured Europe and their album has been issued on vinyl on the distinguished Soundflat label. Melbourne’s Off The Hip brings it to you on CD.
The songs are pretty good. Ten tunes in 25 minutes and no note wasted. “Not Me (You’ve Got It All Wrong)” is the pick, a nicely layered beat rocker with twangy lead break and chunky feel. Bassist Jamie Turner handles vocals and has an appealing voice. Matthew Williams is no slouch on guitar and Michael Nutt’s keys are to the forefront throughout.
There’s a groovy instrumental rocker (“Kanpai”), a greasy R & B chugger (“Let You Down”) that gives the early Stones a run for their money, a hip-shaking hand-clapper (“Idolise Your Woman”) and a surf tune (“Down Time.”)
In the end, “Here Come” doesn’t take you anywhere you don’t expect to go. You know exactly what you’re getting. Sometimes, that isn’t a bad deal.