Highly Suspect – Mister Asylum

highly-suspect-mister-asylumI happened across this little piece of debut album perfection whilst on a random playlist browse within a well-known streaming app. The track that got me thinking “hmmm, who’s this then?” was ’23’ featuring Sasha Dobson. With an intro that is the musical equivalent of high-caliber gunfight, the track also boasts a very catchy chorus and a riff that is simply stunning. Complexity and simplicity in a cocktail of pleasing, modern rock.

With a sound akin to Royal Blood (with the addition of guitar in the mix) this band are fresh but without going too left-field and sounding like the ten-a-penny copycats out there. Distinctive screeching guitar of Johnny Stevens cuts across the thick, pulsating beats laid down by the rhythm section of the Meyer twins; Rich on bass and Ryan on drums. I was hooked early on and proceeded to get my hands on the full album Mister Asylum.

Mister Asylum follows up 2012’s The Worst Humans, with The Black Ocean the following year, two EPs that started the journey of a blossoming friendship which would eventually turn into one of Brooklyn’s finest young rock bands. As you work your way from opening track ‘Mister Asylum’ (with its radio-friendly lyrics) through to ultimate track ‘Claudeland’ you’re taken on a journey that hints at several genres and inspirations from the music world in which they live and breathe. There’s a varied nature about every track yet there’s a distinct sound emanating from the core of each one that binds them.

Pace rises and drops like the tide throughout this album. ‘Lydia’ – one of the slower tracks – showcases the storytelling and lyrical ability of a lead singer who is both charismatic and confident without actually having to see the guy perform, it all comes through crisp and clear. ‘Lost’ shares a similar stance on the album where the pace picks up between somber verses in which Stevens has a bit of a Chris Cornell snarl to his voice.

The true rock n roll side of this band comes bursting out in the NSFW titled ‘F**k Me Up’ as it sends the listener on a bluesy and dramatic trip, a brief trip at that. With only two and a half minutes clocked up this short and sweet could-be-classic segues into two more “proper old school” rock tracks that hold your interest right to the end. Something some of the biggest bands on the planet struggle to do. ‘Vanity ‘and album closer ‘Claudeland’ which you could be forgiven for thinking is a ‘Johnny B Goode’ rip-off. Of which, it is most definitely not. If you should take anything from this track is to do as your told and “…dance motherfucker, just dance”.

Move the furniture aside and crank this one up to eleven. Enjoy!

Alan Gray

Senior Writer and Editor at Musicscramble. Listens to a wide range of music. A sucker for a heavy bass line and a thundering guitar hook.

Loves getting his gig on but also loves to get behind a camera and capture music in the making. Check out akgphotos.com for more.

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