Portland, Oregon’s Size 85 High Tops’ forthcoming album, Rev It Up (due out March 27th on In Music We Trust Records), fuses power pop, prog, acid-folk, and country to deliver a dark and lovely psych-rock cornucopia over their sprawling thirteen-track sophomore release, which will be available digitally and on double vinyl this spring.
Led by vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Jesse Keyes, the band also includes co-producer and drummer Scott Van Schoick, bassist John Wolcott, and lead guitarists Joel Bocek and Al Toribio. Keyes’s teenage daughter Myra contributes occasional lead and backing vocals, and multi-instrumentalist Kyleen King helps round out the band both live and on the record.
The band’s colorful debut, Size 85 High Tops Get Loose, was self-released in late 2015 and the new record tends even more toward the complex, with the band shapeshifting again and again to fit each unique piece. The songs strike out their course “in the way of a travelogue,” as Keyes calls it, weaving folk melodies, spirituals, and classical touchstones (Ives and Copland are among two American composers subtly quoted) into the band’s proggy strains of rock and psychedelia to make an assimilated, if flexible, whole. The band’s hallmarks – occasional horn swells, strings, interwoven guitars and lush contrapuntal harmonies – are there, but the music is more experimental and free-form, the structuring more diverse.
Today Glide is excited to premiere “Rev It Up And Ride”, one of the standout tracks on the band’s new album. Opening with verses that feel straight out of the Laurel Canyon, Neil Young-esque songbook with an underlying indie folk sound, the song slowly builds. Coming in at just over six minutes, it is a sprawling song that starts quiet before transforming into a guitar-driven rocker with soaring solos and changing tempos. By the time we get to the middle of the song, the band layers in a lush array of orchestration before ultimately bringing the song to its end with a cascading saxophone solo and funky bass groove. The band packs a lot into one song and makes for a rock composition that is filled with surprises.
Front man Jesse Keyes shares his own thoughts on the inspiration behind the tune:
“‘Rev’ is a song inspired by the Ann Charters Kerouac biography, Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano, and Stephen Crane’s two little poetry volumes, War is Kind and The Black Rider. It’s about a Western world slipping into decay, drugs, literary roadtripping…there’s not a lot of hope in it but the music tries to redeem a tiny bit of the character’s steadfastness and humor. Neil Young’s ‘L.A.’ from Time Fades Away inspired the first verses. The vocal sounds like ‘ride’ but it’s actually sung as ‘write.’ You know, revelatory, write on…”