Local CD Review: Mic Harrison and the High Score, 'Still Wanna Fight'

Mic Harrison and the High Score

Still Wanna Fight

Can you believe it's been almost a decade since Mic Harrison took on the High Score as his backing band? In that span Mic and co. have become a Knoxville institution, delivering a spate of solid albums, steadily touring the Southeast, and always knocking 'em out at their sweaty, beer-soaked shows. The band has been consistently solid for, like, ever. But their latest album, Still Wanna Fight, is by far their best effort yet.

There are three elements that make the Mic/High Score formula work so well. The first is songcraft: Mic is a master at writing catchy, rocking songs that address the human condition from a barstool perspective. The second element is the band's just-right mix of twang and power-chord crunch, which falls somewhere in between Cheap trick and Steve Earle. The third element, Harrison's secret weapon, is Robbie Trosper, the lead guitarist who turns simple songs into anthems. Trosper occupies a sonic territory somewhere between Mick Ronson and Guided by Voices' Doug Gillard, which is to say he's amazing.

So, you ask, what makes Still Wanna Fight better than the others? It's that the band has perfected their rock/country mix just right. The songs rock and swing at the same time. Highlights include the tears-in-your-beer song "Good Thing," the wistful rocker "Don't Change Your Plans," and Trosper's punky "Rock and Roll Clothes," apparently a dig at a fellow rocker who has made it big.