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After numerous high school bands, guitarist/vocalist Matthew Hepworth grew frusturated with the lack of progress he saw in what he wanted to do. So he took matters into his own hands - he became his own band.
Hepworth self-recorded all instruments (guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, effects) in his tiny dorm room, then hooked up with Beat Strings keyboardist Chris Brown to record vocals in the latter's "real" studio. While Hepworth considered himself first and foremost a guitarist and then a vocalist, with Brown at the helm, his voice took on a life of its own, bringing out the right character for every line and every story.
Written over a period of three years, Highland Park takes you on a journey through the 13 tracks, using a variety of styles to paint a sonic portrait of one young man's mind. Rather than it being a messy, scrambled glimpse of someone trying to find their voice, the clashing feelings instead provide able and ample contrast that only makes the whole deal that much more of an experience. Subjects such as the slippery illusion of time ("Six Seconds Away"), authoritarianism ("My Mask," "Negative Zero"), love lost ("Blessed September," "Silent Scream"), criticism of complacency and fanaticism ("Rivets," "A Mile And A Half For Deja Vu"), and angst ("Beyond All Things," "(Bitter)Sweet Sixteen," "Glass Salamander") are all covered, but it's not all doom and gloom- "Leaves," for example, provides a breather in the form of an sweetly sincere apology, and both the title track and "Decline" propose a message of hope in a rebellious manner.
Yet, to describe each song as a part takes away from their collective sum, which is infinitely greater - in line with Hepworth's original vision of it being a soundtrack to a movie of life, a living, breathing collective that doesn't merely lash out against the wrongs, but seeks to right them as well.