A Parkhead Cross of the Mind
First Pressing - 725 LPs
225 Clear with Red and Blue Splatter (Exclusive to Lame-O Fan Club in US, also available in the UK from Bingo Records)
500 Transparent Red
Fan club bundles come with the exclusive Clear with Red + Blue splatter vinyl variant, as well as an exclusive fan club item.
~~~ PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A PRE-ORDER, RECORDS NOT EXPECTED TO SHIP UNTIL THE EARLY SUMMER~~~~
Some bands reveal themselves immediately, coming right out and winning the listener over the moment they hit play. And then there are bands that open up with time, rewarding repeat listens with new lyrical and musical thrills on every return. Glaswegian jangle pop extraordinaires U.S. Highball have the rare distinction of being both. The duo specialize in the kind of instantly charming songwriting that makes a great first impression, and an even better second, third, and beyond. Their songs are equal parts wit and heart, full of pop culture nods, inside jokes, and hooks upon hooks. Now U.S. Highball’s third full-length, A Parkhead Cross of The Mind, leans even further into their unique dichotomy, offering another goldmine of discovery set to their finest batch of pop gems to date.
Made up of James Hindle and Calvin Halliday, U.S. Highball is the result of a 17-year friendship. Upon meeting in 2005, the two quickly bonded over their overlapping musical interests, and when their previous group, The Pooches, began to fizzle, they soon found a new creative chemistry working as a duo. “We have pretty much identical tastes in music, and culture in general, so we were both on the same page as to what we wanted the band to sound like,” Hindle explains. “It’s like having all the fun parts of being in a band, without any of the hassle!” The prolific songwriters released their debut LP as U.S. Highball, Great Record, in 2019, and quickly followed it with 2020’s Up To High Doh.
When crafting A Parkhead Cross of The Mind, U.S. Highball set out to make a louder, punchier version of their sound without sacrificing the idiosyncratic charm of their previous releases. They upgraded their gear and home recording setup and got to work, whittling down 40 potential songs to 12, which were then meticulously honed. “We definitely prefer to record at home,” says Hindle. “It gives us unlimited time to let the songs gestate for longer without the financial and time constraints of being in a studio.” This unhurried process is key, as much of U.S. Highball’s magic lies in the little things. The songs on A Parkhead Cross of The Mind are rooted in the chiming guitars of ‘80s indie pop and college rock, merging the scrappiness of Sarah Records with the catchy quirks of other inspirations like Fountains of Wayne and They Might Be Giants. And like those of their many beloved influences, U.S. Highball’s songs are packed full of undeniable melodies elevated by each precisely constructed sonic detail.
Halliday and Hindle’s deep well of pop culture influences doesn’t stop with the sound of A Parkhead Cross of The Mind. The album’s lyrics and song titles are packed with references–a wink to Yo La Tengo here, a nod to Suicide there, Neil Young allusions, hints at an appreciation of Boston hardcore and professional tennis–that all become a trail of breadcrumbs leading further into the band’s world, often with a poignant payoff. Tracks like “Down In Timperley,” “Double Dare,” or “Mental Munchies” offer slices of life observations over top of homespun power pop and driving drum machine beats. “For the most part the lyrics aren’t especially personal, in so much as they aren’t about relationships,” Hindle explains. “But there are definitely elements that are about work frustrations, the desire to escape countered with a love of being at home and the familiar. We tried to capture little moments and make them as visual as possible.” Elsewhere, the band’s cover of Jimmy Silva’s “Grease The Wheel” simultaneously functions as a catchy lament, a direct tribute to the music that inspires them, and yet another rabbit hole for curious listeners to explore.
Most of all, Hindle and Halliday love to document their home city, making their own humble contribution to Glasgow’s incredible legacy of outstanding guitar pop. “Our music is Glasgow-influenced, through and through,” says Halliday. “Our albums are littered with references to the city, both direct and indirect. A Parkhead Cross of the Mind is a reference to an area in the east end that I spent a lot of time in and around as a kid,” he says. Hindle adds, “I personally like the idea of music being from somewhere. It gives it an identity.” And identity is something U.S. Highball have in spades. The only thing rivalling the amount of hooks on A Parkhead Cross of The Mind is the amount of personality Halliday and Hindle have managed to imbue into its 26 minutes of perfect pop.