The title Higher Lows and Lower Highs refers to Nick Johnston’s recent diagnosis of a form of bipolar disorder. The lyrics speak in stream of consciousness manner of the negotiations of life compartmentalised into daily routine that such a disorder can be managed with.
“There’s only dancing – and small computers – there’s only concrete slabs – ”
This speaks of a way of breaking down the complexities and greyness of life into black and white – concrete categories of understanding and negotiating life. But the song also speaks of the layering added to such arbitrary realities – ie there is colour and emotion and searching for love and for meaning.
“There’s waiting for commencement, waiting for the message, waiting for the love of your life to walk into your world and tell you that you’ve made it – that it’s all worthwhile – ”
“You’re only just holding on to your head”
Higher Lows and Lower Highs features a solid live sampled repetitive rhythm section, the structural composition takes cues from Remain in Light era Talking Heads as well as early New York house production. This leaves room for the vocals and lyrics to do the work in differentiating chorus/verse/bridge etc. The rhythm provided in the sampled/looped repetition is augmented by layers of percussion thanks to Jeremy Toy’s production.
released January 27, 2017
Written by Nick Johnston and Cut Off Your Hands
Nick Johnston - Vocals, Guitar
Philip Hadfield - Bass
Jonathan Lee - Guitar
Brent Harris - Drums, BVs
Jeremy Toy - Synth, Percussion
Recorded by Jeremy Toy in his Spare Room Studios at the LAB
Mixed by Jeremy Toy and Cut Off Your Hands
Mastered by Dave Cooley