CD Review: Highland Kites “I’m Not Weak”

Los Angeles-based trio Highland Kites came to be as the three musicians met each other over the course of several years. Singer/guitarist/keyboard player Marissa Lamar developed her style as a singer-songwriter after getting over a bad bout of lyme disease. She would then meet drummer Neil Briggs who would add the backbeat to her music. The duo existed as the band Highland Kites for a while until lead guitarist Alex Edwards was added to the mix to help the duo finish the sound they were looking for.

The band of Highland Kites creates a sound that they describe as Anti-Folk music. Taking a large amount of Rock and Roll with a rather soft quality to it, the band adds a lot of other musical elements that go together to form an Indie Rock-like style. But the addition of harder Rock and Roll elements that kick the energy level of their music up a notch every so often is what truly makes their style something to experience. Having already released several EPs, Highland Kites is currently celebrating the release of their newest collection of music. The new EP from the band is entitled I’m Not Weak.

I’m Not Weak from Highland Kites begins with the track “Nothing to Say”. The lead-off track finds Marissa Lamar sitting behind the keyboards for this track as the band creates a track that contains a certain amount of quietness to the music while still containing a New Wave feel to the music, as well. The song of “Nothing to Say” kicks the new EP from Highland Kites off with on a rather low-key note as the lyrics of the song suggest that Lamar seems to just be warming up.

While the first track of the I’m Not Weak EP has a slightly laid-back quality to it, the band really shows off their Anti-Folk style on the song “Monster”. The trio kicks the song off with a quiet guitar that seems to be back in the distance before the rest of the instrumentation are added to the mix to create a song with an Indie Rock quality to it. The first half of the track follows that laidback feel before the band takes things to the next level. The song finds the band building the track by adding a more prominent keyboard sound and a much harder quality to the music. By the later part of the song, Highland Kites sounds as though they are about to launch into a straight-out jam. And just like that, the song ends.

The new EP from Highland Kites continues with the track “Temporary Life”. The track begins with the instruments from the band and the vocals from Marissa Lamar combining to create the main melody for the song. The resulting melody will remind some of something that could have been influenced by the likes of the Cocteau Twins. The easy pace of the music and the light, airy feel of Lamar’s vocals create a track that seems as much like Folk music as it feels like New Wave. As the track progresses, the production on the drums from Neil Briggs makes them feel like they would fit nicely into a New Wave track from the eighties. The New Wave/Folk quality of the track continues as the energy level picks up during the latter half of the track. The band adds a lot of energy to their musical approach and they rock their way out of the song.

With the track “You’ll Never Know,” the trio creates yet another song that builds as they play. The song begins with a simply guitar part and Marissa Lamar’s vocals before more guitar and the drums are added. The reverb on the one guitar adds a lot of texture to the track. The drums from Neil Briggs add a strong beat to the music. The band adds more and more texture to the song as more drums and more guitar are added to the track. The song builds and builds and just like with the track “Monster,” the song comes to an end just as it reaches the climax.

Highland Kites bring their new EP to an end with the release’s title track. During the four song that lead up to the final track on the release, Marissa Lamar, Neil Briggs and Alex Edwards alternate between softer and harder approaches to their music. With “I’m Not Weak,” the band unleashes their Rock and Roll side completely and creates a track with a very strong Indie Rock quality to it. The track gives the listener the chance to hear what the band can do when they release their inner rock stars. As the title implies, “I’m Not Weak” proves that the band is definitely not powerless even though they spend a lot of time in a more laidback state of mind.

Whether it’s the laidback quality of “Nothing to Say” or the Rock and Roll feel of the titled track, the trio of Marissa Lamar, Neil Briggs and Alex Edwards show off their abilities as musicians to adapt to the intensity of the music. The five songs that make up I’m Not Weak from Highland Kites show the talent of the members of the group.

To hear the music from Highland Kites, check out their current single, “I’m Not Weak“.

For more information, check out Highland Kites’ PR firm The RMG Media Group.

I'm Not WeakHighland Kites will be releasing their newest EP, I’m Not Weak, on July 29, 2017. Check out the band’s Facebook page to stay updated.