Fueled by many years spent battling and overcoming Lyme disease, Marissa Lamar‘s emotionally charged songwriting is, without question, the heart and soul of Los Angeles based alt-folk-rock trio, Highland Kites.
Lamar (vocals, keys, guitar) is backed by Neil Briggs (drums, percussion), and Alex Edwards (lead guitar). Together, they’ve already amassed a rather lovely catalog of music, including their debut EP, So Vicious, their full length album, All We Left Behind, and their 2016 EP, Let Me Run.
Their most recent creation, I’m Not Weak, is simultaneously subtle and abrupt, as Lamar continues her personal and public excavation of the most tender parts of her being…which we are happy to witness.
Here’s what we dug most…
Ambient synth and electric guitar open the EP with, Nothing To Say. This ambient instrumentation is contrasted quickly by Lamar’s uncomplicated ode to moving on…
“This is who I am, I overthink, I’m cynical
Do things wrong, sometimes I break, I spill my guts on stage to people I don’t know
You ask me why, I always change my mind, and why, I’m so goddamn unpredictable
And all I can say, is if it’s okay, I think I’ll go
Cuz I have nothin’ to say…”
The equally dreamy, Monster, sounds like something off of Smashing Pumpkin’s 1998 release, Adore. This synth-drenched number is a gut-wrenching display of self-honesty as Marissa puts words to one crucial discovery: she is the monster she’s been running from…
“Am I a monster…so it seems
A nightmare, lost in a dream”
You’ll Never Know immediately reminded me of Fun. As Lamar states her argument to those who will never understand what she went through, behind her, the track builds steadily with layers of digitally delayed guitar, synth and percussion.
Our Favorite Track:
Concluding with the EP title track, I’m not weak, the trio have created something rather unique. Alternating between angry redemption, and joyous liberation, this final cut is brave and complicated—a rare track that sounds like little else out there.
“I can’t stop thinking about how you compare everything I do to a storm…”
—Highland Kites, Nothing To Say
Breaking all of the cookie-cutter rules to songwriting and production, this album is probably the most anti-pop collection of songs I’ve heard in quite some time. Powerful, true-to-life storytelling, and a highly creative, no-holds barred approach to the art of recording sound, make I’m Not Weak a worthwhile listening experience—but only for those who seek out material that has the ability to define a moment in time, and to affect that moment with emotion and depth.
Mazzy Star meets Lisa Loeb, with a touch of The Cranberries (the era of “Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?”)
BELOW, you can listen to music from Highland Kites’ new EP, I’m Not Weak, and connect with their website and social media platforms. Please support Highland Kites by visiting them online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing their music. And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
Listen to music from Highland Kites’ EP, I’m Not Weak: