10 High Fly’s debut album ‘Roller Coaster’ is festival ready, and so are we

10 High Fly’s debut album ‘Roller Coaster’ is festival ready, and so are we

Words by Keegan Bennett

Soaring choruses, lighters in the air, what more could you ask for.

Cold Chisel, The Eagles, Queen, Brad Paisley, when listing off the album’s influences, it’s not hard to see how ‘Roller Coaster’ ended up like it did. When the world opens again, music fans can stay rest assured that 10 High Fly have an album full of big choruses, chantable lyrics and catchy hooks that will be leaving you singing into next year.

10 High Fly’s debut album has been out for a few months now and has given listeners a taste of what the band will bring to the table when live gig’s return. Although the band has put out some tracks in the past, the primary focus has been live performance.

“We don’t play every song exactly the same when we play it live either… that’s the best part about it”, lead singer Sam Hanson had to say.

“We’re not just stuck in that [loop of] putting a song on Spotify and playing it over and over again, you gotta believe in that live experience, involving the audience, doing all things live to mix it up and make that gig that you play completely original”.

The new record ‘Roller Coaster’ certainly offers just that, a collection of 11 tracks that offer up heartfelt shared human experiences that any audience can relate to.

The album plays like its namesake suggests, a rollercoaster, containing ups and downs, with tender, mellow points contrasted by soaring guitar work by Paul O’Reilly that pulls you through the record. “Paul’s done a great job,” Hanson says in reference to the flow of the album.

One such mellow point comes with the song ‘About Here’, you could interpret this song as say the low point of the rollercoaster. Hanson says the song took a different turn to how they expected.

“That was probably one of the last songs we thought would have made the cut for the album… it’s a song we wrote together, and its two different situations in our lives, as kids, that we put together, and we realised that we had gone through a lot of similar experiences in our childhoods, people leaving your family or people dying, and they were really big influences in our lives.”

Hanson says that on a planned vinyl release ‘About Here’ would likely be the closing track to the first side of the record.

‘About Here’ is followed up with the title track, which is also a high point for the record, both in terms of the figurative rollercoaster and in terms of quality. Opening with a picked guitar melody, Hanson’s vocals soon cover the track, with production that makes him sound like he is in the same room. This is true for the whole project, it very much sounds like a live album, despite being recorded in the bandmates’ separate studios over the course of the lockdown. ‘Roller Coaster’ continues as Hanson comes to terms with the fluctuations of life, ‘I’ve been on a roller coaster ride, wasn’t my choice, they call it life’ he sings. Hanson says that he was unsure of the track’s inclusion on the record.

“Paul and Mark – the drummer – love it, it’s probably the most basic of all songs we’ve ever written.

“It was the first song I ever wrote in my life; I wrote that when I was in high school and it’s gone through the generations of my music until now when the band hits it and their like ‘right this is where its gotta go this is great’.”

That life-long connection to the tracks is a part of what makes this album feel so special. Sure, it was only assembled over the last six months, but this feels like a release that has been stewing for some time. It’s not overly complicated but it doesn’t overstay its welcome and offers up tracks that Hanson says the band will be singing for years to come.

‘Roller Coaster’ is out now, for more information check out 10 High Fly’s website.

10 High Fly are playing at the Ocean Grove Hotel on the 30th of December check out the website for more information.