Track x Track: HighSchool - ‘Accelerator’ EP

Track x Track: HighSchool - ‘Accelerator’ EP

London-via-Melbourne indie-pop post-punks take us through their highly anticipated sophomore EP, track by track

Image credit: Hannah Mckimmie

Three years on from the release of their highly lauded breakthrough EP Forever At Last, HighSchool have readied its follow-up, Accelerator. Recorded under completely different circumstances from their first EP that was the result of COVID lockdowns, in the three years since Forever At Last HighSchool have relocated from Melbourne to London and taken their time to hone their sound, resulting in a fantastic second record that expands on the sounds and ideas of the first.

Filtering post-punk flavours through a lo-fi, bedroom indie pop lens proves to be a winning formula as the band craft hazy, swirling and inviting soundscapes where fuzzy guitars meet electronic bleeps and bloops with propulsive and groove laden rhythm sections holding things down.

For a record that draws on everything from new wave to slowcore, it’s little surprise that the EP was brought to life by some very talented, very experienced people including being produced by rising London producer Finn Billingham, mixed by GRAMMY-winning engineer Philippe Weiss (Earl Sweatshirt, Nas, Drake) and mastered by Blur and Depeche Mode producer Ben Hillier.

With the band about to hit the road for a string of European and UK shows (all dates below), the guys were kind enough to take us through Accelerator, track by track:

August 19

This was the first single we released from the EP. The 19th of August last year was the day we wrote the song, or at least the date that the song was initially conceived. The idea was saved as a voice memo on my phone which automatically names the memos after the date it was recorded if no title is added. That’s what we referred to the song as for a long time and I guess it just stuck.

The lyrics touch upon themes of nostalgia, adolescence and young love. Written with the acuity of hindsight, the song compares the now with the then and reflects upon how schoolyard romances are at once both pure yet superficial, all-encompassing yet very fleeting, caught at the crossroads of meaningfulness and insignificance.

The video clip was filmed in Benidorm, Spain, a popular tourist destination known for its sandy beaches and trashy nightlife. It follows our fish-out-of-water protagonist as he gets ready to go out before taking to the bustling neon-lit streets looking for some night-time adventure. In a general sense, the clip explores the overarching themes of the disparity between expectations and reality, a concept that runs throughout the entire EP.

Doesn’t Matter

Doesn't Matter is a song about unrequited love. It's about your beloved being unaware or uncaring of your affection and deep desire for them. It's about longing and the places your imagination takes you when you yearn for someone.

The video was shot over two days at three separate locations in and around the outskirts of Melbourne. We were trying to capture a modern Southern Gothic atmosphere with an Australian flair, taking inspiration from classic Australian Gothic literature and film as well as crime stoppers adverts and the T.V. programs like Highway Patrol.

She Took You To Narnia

I remember when we were crafting ‘She Took You To Narnia’ in the studio with producer Finn (Billingham), the guiding influence was the track ‘Mirror’s Image’ by The Horrors. I love the way this track turns from a four-to-the-floor electronic track into a guitar-based band track in the opening minute of the song. We took inspiration from this and tried to replicate it in our own way.

Basically, the song is about wanting to be older when you’re young and younger when you’re old.

Heaven’s Gate

We shot the video for ‘Heaven’s Gate’ at Rory’s partner’s parent’s house in Melbourne when they were out of town. We invited our friends around for a formal dinner party and enlisted Joel Wilson and Aaron Potter, who did the ‘Sirens’ video for us, to direct and shoot the clip respectively. One of our most narrative-based film clips to date, it follows Luke who, fed up with Rory’s bullheadedness, comes to the decision to murder Rory by poisoning his drink.

We wanted to write a slower paced ballad-esque track to offshoot the relatively high BPM’s of the rest of the EP. Poppy Billingham from the band Sunken features on the song, singing in tandem with Rory in the choruses, bridges and part of the verses as well.

Mondo Cane

Mondo Cane translates from Italian as “Doggish World”. Apparently it’s a mild and somewhat outdated Italian profanity but it’s also the name of a really fresh Italo-horror film from the 60’s. The intro and outro were recorded live with a few room mics and the vocals were recorded in the staircase outside the studio. We placed the microphone at the bottom of the staircase and sang from the top of the staircase creating a very eerie, natural reverb on both our voices. If you listen closely you can hear people walking up and down the stairs, entering and exiting the building. And if you listen even closer to the outro, you might notice us singing the opening lyrics of ‘August 19’.

HighSchool's new EP Accelerator is out now via [PIAS] Australia

HighSchool Accelerator artwork 3000x3000 PIAS Australia

April 28 | Covo Club - Bologna, ITA
April 29 | Bellaezza - Milan, ITA
April 30 | X-Tra Musikcafe - Zurich, CH
May 2 | Continental - Brussels, BEL
May 3| Pop Up! - Paris, FRA
May 5 | Paradiso - Amsterdam, NL
May 6 | Helios37 - Cologne, GER
May 7 | Maschinehaus - Berlin, GER
May 10 | Deadwax - Birmingham, UK
May 11 | Workman’s - Dublin, IRE
May 12 | Stereo - Glasgow, UK
May 15 | The White Hotel - Manchester, UK
May 16 | Brudenell Social Club - Leeds, UK
May 17 | The Great Escape - Brighton, UK
May 18 | Arts Club Loft - Liverpool, UK
May 19 | Bodega - Nottingham, UK
May 22 | Thekla - Bristol, UK
May 23 | The Dome - London, UK

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