While anyone that’s been following along with this site’s recent coverage can attest to 2016’s early strength, there have only been a small handful of releases to immediately jump out and make their mark. Ladada’s Hi Five EP is one of those releases. Easily one of the best EP’s I’ve had the fortune of receiving in 2016, I’m thrilled to be hosting its exclusive premiere here on Heartbreaking Bravery.
Nearly every hallmark of the kind of songs that are regularly featured on this site are present in Hi Five: a vicious marriage of basement pop and lo-fi punk, subtle psych flourishes, nuanced songwriting, a palpable sense of energy, and strong dynamic work. Hell, all of that’s evident in “New Psych”, the blistering lead-off track, alone. “New Psych” was Hi Five‘s pull track and, thankfully, was no misnomer. Everything that follows on Hi Five sees Ladada in full-blown demolition mode, ready to unleash a considerable amount of unchecked aggression at a moment’s notice without ever losing its balance.
A handful of intriguing influences permeate Hi Five and lend it a surprising amount of additional intrigue while ensuring its longevity by separating both the release and the band from their peers. Ladada have latched onto something relatively intangible with Hi Five that both advances their identity and increases their appeal. Every track boasts a casual confidence and self-assuredness that most acts operating within the confines of punk-inflected basement pop can only hope to reach. From the contained atmospherics of “Old Wave” to the sprightly, surf-indebted riffing that drives “Roll Back” to the nearly-instrumental “Tappa”, Ladada seems to be completely in control of every aspect of their music.
Song after song, hook after hook, Hi Five sees Ladada proving themselves to be a serious force. As a standalone EP, it’s a revitalizing piece of music. As part of the band’s discography, it’s undoubtedly positioned itself as a calling card for years to come. Everything about Hi Five works- and it works exceptionally well. Whether it’s the half-paranoid lyrics, the scintillating guitar work, or the rhythm section’s tendencies to veer off into near-tribal territory, Hi Five finds myriad ways to stake out its position as a standout release. One of 2016’s first truly great releases, Josiah Schlater’s project has hit its stride and waltzed away with a smile.