Highly Suspect remain edgy and unapologetic on their highly anticipated sophomore album, The Boy Who Died Wolf.
Up-and-coming rock band Highly Suspect have been riding high. The band received two left-field Grammy nominations for their debut album, Mister Asylum. Led by their gives zero f*cks frontman Johnny Stevens, Highly Suspect are unapologetic and profane to the nth degree. After establishing their identity, the band returns with a highly anticipated sophomore album, The Boy Who Died Wolf. Overall, the results are #winning.
“My Name Is Human”
Standout “My Name is Human” kicks off The Boy Who Died Wolf magnificently. It featuring enigmatic opening production, which percolates into a truly dark quality. Throughout, “My Name Is Human” features a religiously skeptical message. Frontman Johnny Stevens delivers rhythmic vocals possessing a rap-sensibility without compromising rock. The lyrics are biting and the vocals are incredibly aggressive. The chorus – varied in a couple of instances – represents the best moment of “My Name Is Human”:
“I’m up off my knees, girl / I’m face to face with myself / and I know who I am / (Hello, my name is human) / I stole my power from the sun / I’m more than just a man / (no longer disillusioned).”
“Little One” comes from a place of pain and regret. Stevens conveys these emotions perfectly, delivering clear and gritty vocals. “Little One” features an excellent harmonic progression, established by guitar from the onset. Among the strongest moments is the powerful, heavy chorus:
“Hey, little one / I’m so scared of what this could have been / I know that today I lost my only friend / my little one.”
“Serotonia” set the tone initially for The Boy Who Died Wolf. Throughout, Stevens tackles maturation as an adult, character flaws (“I’m not that good of a person…”), and California. He raises eyebrows with a twenty-something-dude reference to masturbation, but is ultimately seeking progression:
“I wish that everyone I knew was dead / so that I’d never have to pick up the phone / I just wanna be naked / and masturbate all day at home.”
Aside from clever lyrics, an epic guitar solo shines.
“Oh, you’re a racist / geez, that’s neat / get the f*ck up out my face with that shit…”
“Viper Strike” is one of the more captivating songs from the album. Stevens essentially puts both middle fingers up to the narrow sighted – bigots and racists. Here, Stevens lets it rip, with the profanity flying freely:
“I see you clutching that cross pretty hard though / a lot of motherf*ckers are gay / like in a ‘hide your kids’ kind of way.”
All in all, Highly Suspect have crafted an enjoyable and respectable sophomore effort with The Boy Who Died Wolf. There are enough solid moments to please fans of the band and welcome some newbies. It’s imperfect, particularly when Highly Suspect indulges too much in profanity for substance, as well as flawed experimentation. Nonetheless, there’s more to be enthused about than not.
Gems: “My Name is Human,” “Little One,” “Serotonia” & “Viper Strike”
Highly Suspect • The Boy Who Died Wolf • 300 Entertainment • Release: 11.18.16
Photo Credit: 300 Entertainment
A full track-by-track review of the album can be found at The Musical Hype.