Hi Lo Ha’s intriguing new offering Ain’t Gone Tonight opens in the gentle daze of its leading track “Cold Weather Clothes,” a slow churning journey through a sonic oasis delicately pieced together in an ethereal patchwork woven by its four equally talented players. Its essential harmony isn’t buried in feedback but instead presented to us in an extremely vulnerable clarity that creates a unique feeling of intimacy between the listener and Hi Lo Ha that persists throughout the entire record but is never quite as opulent as it is in this first song. From here, it’s a solid ascension into the clouds and freeform nature of the endless skies above.
Hi Lo Ha have been making a big impact on indie rock lately, and specialty radio isn’t the only medium taking hold of their infectious grooves. You can tell a lot about a group based on the characteristics of their hardcore following, and they’ve got the support of a diverse number of scenes and voices throughout the American indie community. It shouldn’t take long for them to break through into the mainstream, and Ain’t Gone Tonight definitely has the capacity to be the record that puts them over the finish line. The really great thing about independent music that adheres to DIY values as much as this does is that there are no rules or obligations to fulfill when approaching the recording process. Hi Lo Ha are able to be themselves completely, and that authenticity lets us see how amazingly talented they really are as individuals and as a joint entity making art together. If they were signed to a major label at this stage, they’d likely be facing a lot of pressures to make a record that’s significantly more boxy and radio-polished to satisfy corporate interests. That isn’t the case with Ain’t Gone Tonight; this music does a good enough job selling itself without the intrusion of studio executives or an A&R department.
With so much overproduced music dominating Top 40 in 2018, the subtleness and micro-arrangements that Ain’t Gone Tonight brings to the table are like a refreshing breath of oxygen among the artistic suffocation. It’s nice when we get to really immerse ourselves in music that you don’t have to think too hard about to enjoy thoroughly and wholly. Hi Lo Ha has a likable persona and an identity that is enough to satisfy the needs of music snobs just as well as it does casual listeners and newcomers to their style of indie rock. I hope I have the chance to see these guys live sometime in the near future, I’m curious to see how their sonic experimentation translates to a live setting. If they maintain the same level of cerebral, evocative creativity on the stage as they do inside the studio, it would make for a must see live experience that I wouldn’t be able to turn down witnessing for myself. I’ll be keeping a close eye at what happens next for Hi Lo Hi, and I recommend other fans of good music do the same.
Hi Low Ha – Ain’t Gone Tonight