The Highway's debut album Forest People, offers a raw and undeniably psychedelic style,
their music tossing the listener deep within with the ether of the galactic pool
where beauty and brutality collide. Sweet and soulful songs artfully climb
the rock and roll ladder with towering vocal harmonies and an energy driven rhythm
section. Both traditional and unmistakably progressive, The Highway defies
musical stereotypes and gives the listener an honest performance of good music
Adding on top of that Ted MacInnes' trance-inducing drumbeats, and Ysaac Cohen's
lively and versatile guitar licks.
Here are some kind words from different music blogs.
The New England Deli Magazine
Psychedelic swirling lures, introducing Forest People with atmospheric effects, slide guitar and nebulous, distant vocals. It builds softly before dropping dead into one crunchy, snarled-lip guitar lick. The band kicks it aside with the verse, Daniel Tortoledo's vocals immediately in the high-register, the rhythm guitar jiving like 70's funk. It's as hypnotizing an opener as this listener has encountered in a very long time. But The Highway, much as the name suggests, isn't content to idle in one place. "Frozen Sun" cruises away from a desert sunset and a troubled past; there's defeat in the lyrics, but it's accepted, calm, soothed by the breeze and the knowledge that tomorrow is a new day. The title track reminds what a spell a well thought out chord progression and back-up vocals can weave - it's a stunning, down-tempo meditation. "Song for the World" is utterly beautiful; if you're the type to let music touch you, this one will, and it's thanks to plumb ingenious song-writing: An entrancingly bittersweet opening gives way to one hell of a surprising French interlude (yes, both linguistically and musically); the song loops back on itself, gaining weight and fleshing out, and by the end, you might not know whether to laugh, cry, or sing along - even though they've switched languages again, this time to Spanish. Now, I know I'm a bit of a sap, but the raw emotionality of the record is worth noting because it's a field in which psychedelically-minded rock 'n roll rarely succeeds. But it's rock and roll, after all, so fear not if you just want to put your fist in the air - there's attitude in abundance, sharp and edgy soloing, inspired rhythm changes; hell, there's even a sing-along drum-and-vocal break. There's still some residue of the "rock is dead" prophesying, some grumbling that rock and roll is all, at this point, recycled goods, and that the new breed of rock is not really "rock" so much as indie, as experimental, as post-this or that-core. Buy Forest People. And then buy it for anyone you know who buys that sh*t.
The Weekly Dig (Boston)
Earnest noodling, a steady beat and straightforward, no-frills vocals: Less is more, and that's exactly what we get with The Highway's Forest People. The local trio specializes in a modern psych rock that couples vintage rock sensibilities with skilled musicianship, leaving audiences with a palatable sound reminiscent of the classic rock standards we've come to accept as the definition of "good."
The breakdown of "Set Me Free" stands out as a highlight on Forest People for its masterful build and soulful bassline, as does the meditative quality of the album's title track. Daniel Tortoledo's effortless baritone is a solid partner for the candid percussive work of Ted MacInnes and the steady guitar stylings of Ysaac Cohen. Every once in a while, you need to return to your roots, and the Highway make a compelling case for expanding upon the foundation of rock in their own way.
Boston Band Crush
The Highway’s “Set Me Free” does this musical thing where it sort of peeks around the corner to see if the coast is clear before coming out into the open. This is a little silly, because once they make sure no one’s watching, they ever-so-gently tip-toe out into the open and then take off their pants and start setting off firecrackers.
The furtive bass-line checks out the scene and then beckons its other friends along, it’s loudest, non-pants wearing friend that gets the most attention. This friend is the chorus - incidentally the title of the song as well - and the chorus makes its indelible mark on the song and in your consciousness, within the context of the song, of course. And maybe a little afterwards. You see, it’s one of those hooky choruses, the kind where a note drones up high while the melody jumps down the stairs, landing on its feet every time.
Another thing that makes this song stand out is its arrangement - The Highway is a full-featured band and they know not only how to fill up their own space, but how to stay out of each others’ way. A standout performance on the organ adds an important level of texture to “Set Me Free” - its whirring wheels circle at the top of the octave, carving out designs in the song’s roof while the guitars churn down below. While the chorus is the nucleus of this song’s clout, the keyboard adds the extra seasoning that gives it that extra push - just to make sure. It’s like they were already winning, but the keyboard taps in the empty-net goal with seconds to spare. The crowd goes wild - and they should.