The High Divers released a new album, Should I Be Worried? on Friday. The project is the first full-length album from the band since 2018’s Chicora.
Should I Be Worried? is a fast-paced, 11-song journey that melds emotion and energy. Much of the album leans into a big-band sound, but the group isn’t afraid to explore a stripped-back, acoustic feel at points, and while they retain their southern roots throughout the project, you can also hear a willingness to play with motifs from other genres.
“One Way” kicks off the album with simple guitar strumming, but the sheer force of Luke Mitchell’s vocals brings its own kind of power. The lyrics discuss (in a narrative, storytelling style) an old photo, and a particular type of love: someone taking back their love and “sending ripples” through a small town. A guitar solo closes the song.
“Lately” shows The High Divers firmly in rock territory, with a driving energy and a kind of zooming, powerful sound. Playful drum licks and lots of building guitar add texture. “I don’t know what has gotten into me lately,” they sing.
“Old Days,” which was previously released as a single, is an exploration of nostalgia.
The next track, “Heavy Heart,” is tender, with some of the most heartfelt lyrics heard on the album: “Without a heavy heart / I could float across the room / Without a heavy heart / I’d have to tie myself to you / Without a heavy heart / I could catch the wind and float up past the trees.” The sound is still big, but with softer lyricism.
“Broken” is a standout track on the album. “We were young / We were stupid / But we were free / We were broken,” Mary Alice Mitchell sings, and the vocals are emotive. It’s gentle ballad-meets-powerful anthem, and the guitar manages to be both melancholy and bright and awake.
“Right Direction” is distinct from the other tracks. There’s more fuzz and reverb, almost with an 80s tinge. Soaring vocals bring us to the chorus, “Don’t give up / Don’t give in,” both of the Mitchell’s voices echoing.
Bringing the album back again to pure rock and roll, “How Long” features a strong guitar riff and big drums. “How could ya / How could ya / How could ya do me this way,” “How long has this been going on?” Luke asks anxious questions, but the music still feels fun.
The High Divers throw in some call-and-response style vocals on “Already Won,” and it’s a triumph. The song details the tribulations of a relationship and overcoming hardship.
“All Night” is another experiment with different sounds. Luke’s vocals sound almost Elvis Costello-esque, and there’s a looser sense of instrumentation that tends toward jazz. The chorus is raw, and the sound feels authentic and easy.
Another track with a big, bright chorus, “Gone Away” is light on its feet, with quirky touches. “Feeling much better now that you’re gone/ Gone / Gone away,” the lyrics boast.
Slowly closing out the album is “Time Goes By,” a gentle, piano-driven track. “Love / It finds / Its way through / On the day / You least / Expect it to / It comes in so many forms / And stays true / Love / Finds you,” Mary Alice sings. There’s an orchestral buildup at the end, drawing the album to a pensive conclusion.
The High Divers celebrated the release of Should I Be Worried? with a show at the Charleston Pour House on Saturday night.
Stream the album below.