On their full-length debut, One Track Minds, the High 5's retain the off-the-cuff, tossed-off feel of their early demo recordings. There's a lack of polish on these eleven songs that one assumes is by design. This roughness fits the mood of the record and the m.o. of a sextet that seems happy to just trod the boards of St. Louis' finest rock clubs meaning that there's no chance that the guys in the band will ever be crushed by the weight of their ambition. The first few tracks on One Track Minds operate on a kind of nervy garage-rock beat; an urgent snare/hi-hat pattern gives "Cherry Stained Floor" an unsettled urgency that is picked up by clangorous, Strokes-like guitar work. From there, it's a catchall of guitar-based modern rock. Some songs possess a jammy, open feel, while others, such as "Long Distance Heartbreak," strive for introspection with minor-key acoustic strums. Patrick Scheu's voice is neither strong nor distinctive enough to carry these songs by itself, and the instrumentation never quite picks up the slack. Too many of these songs are left without a focal point, with the lead vocals buried in the mix and blasé guitar leads that never step up to the front lines. It's great stuff when you're a few beers deep in the smoky confines of a venue; on disc, though, the High 5's kinda leave you hanging. 9 p.m. Friday, October 12. Way Out Club, 2525 South Jefferson Avenue. 314-664-7638. Want your CD to be considered for a review in this space? Send music c/o the Riverfront Times, Attn: Homespun, 6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200, St. Louis, MO 63130. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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