Music News

EMO IN GRACELAND — THE HIGHER Return With ‘Elvis In Wonderland’ EP!

The final Warped Tour shows took place in 2019, with the last cross-country tour being 2018. These final days were the end of an era that provided many bands worldwide with a platform they wouldn’t have elsewhere. While the punk years will always be regarded as the “great years”, the Vans-sponsored event truly peaked in 00’s with the increased popularity of emo and scene bands. Genres that began as an outlet for the outcasts have now become “nostalgia bait” for thirty-year-olds who chose music over therapy.

Now, this all sounds negative, but I too am one of those people. In high school, I immersed myself in this “Alternative Press” styled world. Those were the days. With TikTok revitalizing emo anthems and the “When We Were Young Festival” attracting thousands to relive their glory days, we’re seeing a lot of the bands we millennials grew up on making a comeback. The Higher, out of Las Vegas, Nevada, fit nicely into this nostalgia sandwich. The band just released their brand new EP, “Elvis in Wonderland.” Now, did the band’s first release since 2009 leave a mark, or is it another example of a band riding the wave of what’s hot again?

The Higher got their start in 2002, joining many of the time’s rising stars on multiple tours. The band’s second album, “On Fire” was aptly titled as it saw them enter star status, selling out many shows and premiering videos on both MTV and Fuse. However, after another record, a ton of touring, and a few lineup changes, much like many of the bands of this era, The Higher quietly rode off into the sunset in 2010.

The Higher - Elvis In Wonderland

But, this seems only to be the beginning. The boys are back with “Elvis in Wonderland”, their first release in over a decade. I can truly say this was such a fun listen. While I’ve been aware of the band, they were never a group I got into. It wasn’t a dislike, I just never gave them a true chance. This is very unfortunate as they truly were ahead of their time. The styling of music is a mixture of pop rock with dance groove that gets your body moving. This is highlighted in the first title track.

This album kicks off with a bang. The opening gives us lead singer, Seth Trotter, crooning about nightlife in Vegas and the dreamworld it can truly be. The boys are back to have fun and there’s no doubt about it. If track one was a night on the strip, track two is the warm morning after. “Free Ride” is the perfect, windows down and hair-blowing song. While the lyrics are covering a toxic relationship, Reggie Ragan’s guitar riffs are definite mood boosters. Listen, I’m a sucker for sappy music that sounds happy. This is it! The EP’s third track definitely slows the pace down a little bit but not in a bad way. While most of the new songs have a fast pace groove there’s a chill essence to this track that I absolutely dig. Trotter goes on to describe the happiness of feeling invincible. Those days where you’re so happy and in love, it feels like you’re on drugs. “Introverted Hurricane” picks things back up.

I’m curious if the band took a little bit of influence from bands like Polyphia or modern-day Dance Gavin Dance. This song would fit perfectly on either of those band’s catalogues and it’s great here. While R&B plays a heavy role throughout the whole EP, the closing track, “Pours in the Morning” is definitely when the band wears this influence on their sleeve. The song serves as a great closer that brought my little emo heart to tears. The Higher is back in a big bad way. I hope moving forward the band continues to evolve its already unique sound. In a world where most artists are blending multiple genres, these guys were the trailblazers. They continue to prove it here.

You can check out “Elvis In Wonderland” on Apple Music, Spotify, or any of your preferred streaming methods. Physical copies of the EP are available now – Click here to pick up a copy!