Hell or Highwater
(Spinefarm Records)

For their second full length (and third release), Brandon Sellers’s Hell or Highwater have returned with a more punk influence to their sound. The product, while still enjoyable, has weakened their formula backing The Other Side and Begin Again. Vista mostly excels in its familiar territory – “Don’t Hate Me”, “Don’t Stop. Get Up”, and “Dame” – while stumbling in its newer exercises (for example, the woah-a-oh’s that open “Colors”). This being said, Vista is a record with plenty of hits and strong moments, even with its somewhat painful sections that pop up from time to time. Seller’s voice is still as hypnotizing as ever (though we could have done without the water-ripples of his singing in “Washed Away”), and the band’s instrumental work is still top notch in its writing and performance. Vista may not be the best release the band has done, but it’s still a worthy one.

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