To our ears, this song – “High Life” by London-based band The Breakdown – evokes the likes of Blur, as the band channel fast-paced lyrics packed with quintessential British witticisms, with further energy delivered through the powerful bass and relentless percussion making for a punk-inspired Britpop sound that is still relevant for today’s music scene and political landscape; this is particularly apt when considering the tongue-in-cheek chorus/title of “High Life” which, against the backdrop of twelve years of austerity in the UK and a cost-of-living crisis, highlights the irony. This is just one of the reasons we’re drawn to this brand new release.
As evident fans of the band, their overall sound, and this song in particular, we’ll continue as we mean to go on; sharing our own thoughts on this song and, ultimately, encouraging you to listen to the band (and seeing them at a gig when you get the chance).
Clocking in at three-minutes and thirty-two seconds, The Breakdown have skilfully created a song that incorporates a variety of musical ideas and influences within a sub-four-minute gem, occupying the radio and playlist sweet spot. This also means the song is perfectly-timed to draw you in and give you just the right amount of sonic artistry to feel complete once the song has ended whilst also subconsciously urging you to spin it again. This, we feel, is partly thanks to the driving energy that the song has which is naturally infectious and compels you to pay attention. A second key part, that may otherwise be overlooked due to the lack of lyrics, is the magnificent middle-eight section (or extended outro, depending on your view) that starts around two-minutes in: the bass takes the limelight here whilst the lead guitar experiments with more atmospheric soundscapes momentarily before evolving into a growling rock sound with multiple layers of lead guitar lines blending together in the mix. This sound merges together as it builds towards a dramatic crescendo, once again showing hints of classic rock and punk DNA within the band’s sound.
A solid dose of musical creativity that takes influence from a wide range of successful and recognisable genres, melds them together with some modern-day themes, and shows the confidence of the band behind the music, to result in this distinct song.
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The Breakdown are: Mike Connell (Lead vocals); Richard Gale (Guitar/backing vocals); Andy Strevens (Guitars); and Toby Young (Drums).
Produced and mixed by Andy Strevens | Recorded in 2022 at Chez Tobes, South London.