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Giant Support Group

By MusicNerd May 14, 2009

 

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Stayin' Alive: Height With Friends this Saturday at the Healthy Times Fun Club

The first thing you should know about the rap group Height with Friends is that the beats fucking bang. “Jackson Whites” marries a shuffling bass with splashy horn hits and spaceman synths until their single “The Woods” builds into a full orchestra of dirty blues guitars. 

Excellent. This Saturday at the Healthy Times Fun Club you can expect a party but you might not expect a man who used to rap along with a power point presentation to dispense such personal rhymes. 

Thing is, hidden inside his gentle absurdity has always been a beating heart. On Height's first album “Fake State Capitals” there is a song called Death Number which is about “an alternate universe which is exactally like our own in every way except there is a number hanging around everyones neck which says how many times that person has contemplated committing suicide.” It seems like a downer but the song is relentlessly happy suggesting that shared knowledge of each other's depression might serve like a giant support group. Its silly and funny but more importantly it gets us to more actively engage with his message: We are not alone.

This open (optimistic) spirit frames his work. Height accepts his whiteness without the earnest chest thumping of local indie rapper Macklemore and admits past failures (“tried ryhmin' but we didn't find fans so we moved out to the hills to try it again.”) He jokes and brags like all rappers but the humor is grounded in his central conceit: "I am rapping to help figure out myself and hopefully doing this with honesty will help listeners figure themselves out.”

It's by no means an original concept but the conviction is heartwarming and pretty soon the question you're asking yourself is no longer “Is he serious?” but “what if that number around our neck really signifies the number of times we have chosen to live?”

Height with Friends plays the Healthy Times Fun Club this Saturday. 

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