As indebted as the song is to the alternative-tinged pop of yesteryear, there’s something rather transcendent about the vocal in “He Reminds Me of You” that makes The High Plains Drifters all the harder to pigeonhole in this all-new single. Although there’s a certain hipster irony to the lyrical narrative, there isn’t a moment of this performance that sounds like it was forced or devoid of authentic emotionality. Simply put, the aesthetics might have a cosmopolitan feel, but the substance of the statements made by The High Plains Drifters here are entirely homespun and bucolic. I’ve heard my fair share of intriguing pop numbers this winter, but this is one of the more surprisingly warm tunes to land on my desk.
“He Reminds Me of You” benefits from a self-aware lyrical premise that you don’t need a Ph.D. in poetry to break down, but I like that it isn’t so straightforward as to disguise its bones beyond mainstream accessibility. There’s something to be said about the simplistic structure The High Plains Drifters are utilizing in this piece, and really how well they’re going about expressing an elaborate passion through such barebones means. It’s inspiring to see a band going black-and-white in an age of decadence almost everywhere we look, and I think other pop enthusiasts will agree.
There’s an honest tone to every part of this single, and I would argue that were the production quality not of a more stripped-down style, this tone might not have been as easily conveyed as it is in this instance. Rather than The High Plains Drifters trying to be fanciful with their words or the melodic trappings framing them in this performance, they’re getting plaintive and sticking with a very unintimidating demeanor to acquire as much of our attention as can be nabbed from inside of a recording studio.
The beat here is a little uneasy in spots, but never over the top with the mild discourse it imparts in the arrangement. The High Plains Drifters do a good job of separating their cadence with that of the strings just enough to add a bit of friction into the fold, and while this could be deemed unnecessary by some, it’s just the hint of versatility I think they needed to sound like a modern experimentalist crew in “He Reminds Me of You.” Others might flirt with the untried, but this is a band that goes out and tries it.
Fleshing out the intricacies of an artistic persona is never the easiest of tasks to contend with, but for a group as gifted as The High Plains Drifters are, it produces results like “He Reminds Me of You.” This is a highly melodic indie pop track that bears enough of its soul and rustic harmonies to qualify as an old school number, but no matter what you describe its core artistic construct as this is one single that will leave just about anyone within earshot swooning over the vocals and verses The High Plains Drifters present.