ABOVE: TALL HEIGHTS. PHOTO COURTESY OF SAMANTHA CASOLARI.
Progressive indie folk duo Tall Heights started with a guitar, a cello, and two voices, busking in the streets of Boston. Six years later, singer/guitarist Tim Harrington and singer/cellist Paul Wright have explored and stretched the confines of their minimalist set-up into a full-length album titled Neptune (out August 19 via Sony Music Masterworks). Here, we are pleased to premiere the forthcoming LP’s sixth track, “Infrared.” It opens gently with a serene scene (“I came along an empty planet / I was born beside a lake”) and steadily builds into a captivating, raw yet refined number.
“Infrared” came together in two parts. “It started when Paul wrote an 8-bar, fucked up cello line on his pedalboard and looped it for a while,” recalls Harrington. The sound immediately spurred Harrington to write lyrics, and only 20 minutes after Wright emailed it to him, he replied with a nearly finished track. The speed of the process can be attributed to the chord Wright struck in his bandmate; the cello line reminded Harrington, a Massachusetts native, of a lake he grew up nearby, but when its image came to him it was of a different era—one long before Harrington’s own existence.
“I was a drone hovering over this Native American inhabited landscape as the Europeans came offering religion in exchange for land,” Harrington says. “Lyrically, the song stems from the fear behind the question, ‘Why are we here and what comes next?’ Religion has always offered us shelter, but as a manmade phenomenon that inspires war and land theft as much as it comforts traveling souls, why should we assume a bible story and an afterlife are any less synthesized than any other coping mechanism we use to create our happiness?”
The existential pondering that Wright stirred in Harrington with “Infrared” is true, more broadly, of Neptune. “It really well represents the headspace we’ve been prioritizing of late,” Harrington says. “Leading with the tones and sounds that inspire us creates a momentum of inspiration that self-motivates. It’s like building a house from foundation to furnishings with an uncompromising attention to impeccable materials, so each next step in the construction process breeds a finer finished product,” he continues. “Good increases the good.”