Keith Canisius – This Time It’s Our High Album Review

Keith Canisius’ latest album, This Time It’s Our High, starts off as an annoying reminder as to just how much excellent music exists which you will probably never, ever hear about. The burden is almost crippling. At some point, though, you just have to suck it up and delve in full on, putting aside the daunting reality that you will never experience everything great in the world. You just have to be grateful you discovered something that made you feel this way in the first place.

“People’s Faces,” the intro track to This Time It’s Our High, makes me feel this way. It took me completely by surprise, its existence standing in sharp contrast to what I was expecting (which was, to say simply, something disposable). Not so. “People’s Faces” hinges on a seesawing slide on the guitar, and culminates in a magical moment where the phrase, “Life in general,” cycles repetitively for a good two minutes, punctuated every time by a different emotional adjective or verb. Yet it lulls you, its fluting background sounds and slight sonic deconstructions somehow not just holding, but commanding attention.

Listen to “People’s Faces” – DOWNLOAD MP3

I’m not sure that the rest of the album ever really reaches the high bar set by “People’s Faces,” but there are some standout tracks to be found in the unruly earnestness of “First Tambourine Love” and the gentle grooves of “The Beach House.” Low moments abound as well, though, particularly in the unfocused “Kill Your Systems For Earth,” the forgettable “Gentle Guys,” and the rather obnoxious album closer, “Jimmy.”

Despite being a hit or a miss album, This Time It’s Our High is great in small doses, and if only for “People’s Faces,” you should check this out.

Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/she) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

In 2017, Vee released the narrative short film, Searching Skies — which touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States — and co-organized The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. 2022 sees the release of their next short film, Reckless Spirits, which is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature film.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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Written by Vee Hua 華婷婷
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