High Flight Society
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2007 1 Jun
- Time Is Running Out (Where to Start)
- Up Above
- Sweet Redeemer
- Learn to Let Go
- Loss for Words
- Wake Up
- What's Wrong
- Raise Me
- Get By
A lot of rock bands form to emulate their influences, some of them break big, and then they in turn influence their younger peers, the bands of tomorrow. Not to say that talented bands don't rise to prominence, but it begins to explain why imitation often reigns over innovation today.
I bring it up as a compliment and critique of High Flight Society. Hailing from small town Cedartown, Georgia, the relatively young group lost their original lead singer and eventually replaced him with Jason Wilkes. An interesting choice considering that Wilkes grew up singing Southern gospel and pop, but he took to rock like a fish in water, with a voice strongly reminiscent of Brandon Flowers (The Killers). After trying to release their debut through a couple of record labels that disbanded prematurely, HFS finally comes through as the third band to sign with Rocketown's RKT imprint.
The foursome certainly sounds practiced and polished, with modern rock in the same ballpark as Anberlin, Foo Fighters, and Further Seems Forever. "Declaration" offers an engaging sing-along chorus similar to Switchfoot and stands out as a textbook example of anthemic rock, while the power ballad "Escaping" is subtly worshipful without sounding hackneyed or watered down. HFS also proves adept in the art of openly expressing their faith without alienating non-Christians, whether singing about a new way to live ("Time Is Running Out"), hope amidst tragedy ("Loss for Words"), or patiently trusting things will work out ("Learn to Let Go").
However, just like the endless parade of neo-grunge bands trying to compete with Creed and Nickelback in the last decade, HFS struggles to differentiate itself from established, similar styled modern rock acts—not to mention comparable, stronger debuts in 2007 from This Beautiful Republic and Wavorly. Moreover, many of the songs on this debut tend to blur together. But this is still unmistakably a good start for a band that exhibits solid performance chops. A little growth in songwriting with some catchier hooks, and they'll be flying high in no time.