An in depth study of one of England’s most prolific psychedelic garage bands who have been releasing records on numerous labels over the years.
“And In Time” / “If We Don’t Realise” (State Records THS-001) 2007
Absolutely brilliant double sided slab of garage psych coolness. Totally authentic in every way. The thing that would confuse hip 60s martians dropping down to planet Earth and finding this record is the year of release on the label…2007!!! Surely they would believe this was an artifact from an L.A band circa mid ’66.
‘If We Don’t Realise’ is an infectious punk jangler with great vocals from singer Marty Ratcliffe. He was the front man of the ultra cool Mystreated in the 90s. This song is a masterpiece.
The other side is the frenzied fuzz punker ‘And In Time’. This cut has an awesome freakbeat ‘scattergun’ drumming style like those fabulous Keith Moon backbeats when The Who were still cocky London mods.
Both songs were written by Mole Lambert ex Mystreated and Embrooks. It also appears that they self produced this monstrous record in mono..They did a fine job. Oh yes, the 45 is a limited run of 500. Grab yours while you still can. (EXPO67)
“And In Time” (Lambert)
“If We Don’t Realise” (Lambert)
Three song sampler, all cover versions and recorded at Shay Exotica Sandgate Sound Studios. (THS-PRO-001) 2007
“7 & 7 Is” (Grass Roots / Love)
“You I’ll Be Following” (Grass Roots / Love)
“Smell Of Incense” (WCPAEB)
“Automatic Motion” / “Trip On High” (13 O’Clock Records 13OC-002) 2008
Just in at Renaissance Fair HQ is the brand new single from The Higher State. Both sides are quite amazing psych with a distinct acid-jangle attack. Here’s the promo video for ‘Automatic Motion’ ….check it out for yourselves and buy the 45….highly recommended. (EXPO67)
“Automatic Motion” (Warren)
“Trip On High” (Warren)
Three song sampler, all cover versions and recorded at Shay Exotica Sandgate Sound Studios. (THS-PRO-004) 2008
“My Time” (Golden Dawn)
“You Can Forget About That” (Thursday’s Children)
“Levitation” (13th Floor Elevators)
“Song Of The Autumn” / “Precious Rings And Stones” (13 O’Clock Records 13OC-005) 2010
Numbers recorded at Shay Exotica Sandgate Sound Studios, November 2009
“Song Of The Autumn” (Ratcliffe)
“Precious Rings And Stones” (Lambert)
“I’ll Always Be Around” / “Transparent Day” (Get Hip Records GH-252) 2011
The UK’s leading folk-rock exponents are back with two brand new cuts, exclusively recorded for Get Hip at Sandgate Sound Studios. The topside original is trademark State, rich in vocal harmonies and ringing Rickenbacker, tempered by some tasty fuzz. The flip is a luscious take on the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band’s 1967 classic, “Transparent Day” (Get Hip)
Groups like The Higher State should be cherished in this day and age of bland corporate rock music. Not that many purist ’60s influenced combos exist anymore, especially those re-treading the folk-rock steps of greats like WCPAEB and Merrell Fankhauser & HMS Bounty.
‘I’ll Always Be Around’ is classy folk-rock with jangle and vocal harmonies. On the flip ‘Transparent Day’ is a stupendous version of the WCPAEB gem. Get this record while you can cos it won’t always be around. (EXPO67)
“I’ll Always Be Around” (Ratcliffe)
“Transparent Day” (WCPAEB)
“I Just Pretend” / “Ain’t It Hard” (13 O’Clock Records 13OC-014) 2012
“I Just Pretend” (Ratcliffe)
“Ain’t It Hard” (Gypsy Trips / Electric Prunes)
Exclusive and limited edition CD (only 50 copies made) featuring The Higher State recorded live, no overdubs, at Sandgate Sound Studios on the 25th and 26th February 2012.
Also included are three radio adverts.
“Song Of The Autumn” (Ratcliffe)
Fringe Factory Radio Ad
“Automatic Motion” (Warren)
North Effects Radio Ad
“Darker By The Day” (Ratcliffe)
Freakout At The Gallery Radio Ad
“Know That You Know” (Warren / Ratcliffe / Lambert)
“Potentially (Everyone Is Your Enemy)” / “All Ties That Bind” (State Records THS-010) 2013
“Potentially (Everyone Is Your Enemy)” (Ratcliffe)
“All Ties That Bind” (Lambert)
“Wait For My Love” / “You Don’t Know” (Crustacean 52) 2014
Two numbers recorded for the Fruits De Mer record label, both 13th Floor Elevators songs.
“Wait For My Love” (13th Floor Elevators)
“You Don’t Know” (13th Floor Elevators)
“(Consider It) A Debt Repaid” / “In A World That Just Don’t Care” (13 O’Clock Records 13OC-020) 2015
Last year The Higher State lost two long time members when drummer Mole and guitarist Daniel Shaw left the band for personal reasons. This came as a major surprise to me and I don’t think it’s been that well documented online as the remaining members Marty Ratcliffe and Paul Messis don’t really do the social media thing.
I must admit that I was in a ‘state’ of worry when I heard the news. Would one of my favourite contemporary groups decide to just call it quits and move on to other projects? As you probably know, Paul has his own small record label and solo career.
Thankfully my fears were short lived when I received emails from both Paul and Marty letting me know that they did intend to carry on and would release discs in the future but would probably remain a studio based outfit. The first fruits of their partnership is this fantastic twin spin on the highly collectable 13 O’Clock Records and it’s a record I highly recommend that you add to your collection.
Both sides have thee purist “State” sound we’ve come to expect but this time the emphasis is on a Texas ’66 garage sound. They’ve also added some moody organ thrills into the mix of jangle, fuzz and charm. “(Consider It) A Debt Repaid” written by Marty, is a beautiful garage noise. It’s so easy to inject your mind with The Higher State’s treble-tone guitar soundscapes when they sound as sweet as this.
The other side “In A World That Just Don’t Care” is a typical Paul Messis song. His lyrics are forever introspective, which is his great strength. Check out this verse and you’ll soon be on his trip. This cut somehow reminds me of Thursday’s Children’s “You Can Forget About That”
“The roll of the die
Won’t help you reach paradise.
The light it will shine
And burn in your open eyes.
Both sides of the disc were recorded at ‘Mom’s Landin’
It’s an RPM production and mastered by Tim Warren at Crypt. (EXPO67)
“(Consider It) A Debt Repaid” (Ratcliffe)
“In A World That Just Don’t Care” (Messis)
“Your Casting Doubt” / “X-Ray Day” (Market Square Records MSR-016) 2017
Both sides recorded at Moms Landin’ Studios
Limited edition of 300 records. Produced by Marty Ratcliffe, mastered by Tim Waren at Crypt.
“Your Casting Doubt” (Ratcliffe)
“X-Ray Day” (Ratcliffe)
“Ten Clear Petals” / “Dark Night Of The Soul” (13 O’Clock Records 13OC-030) 2018
“Ten Clear Petals” (Messis)
“Dark Night Of The Soul” (Ratcliffe)
“In The Morning I Will Roam” / “Winter Is Blue” (Hypnotic Bridge Records HYP-005) 2019
“In The Morning I Will Roam” (Messis)
“Winter Is Blue” (Vashti Bunyan)
“You Might Find Out” / “Come Winter Rain” (Lost In Tyme Records LIT45-008) 2021
Recorded and engineered by Marty Ratcliffe and Tim Ray.
Mastered by Alec Palao
Paul Messis (6 and 12 string guitars, bass guitar on “You Might Find Out”
Marty Ratcliffe (guitar, wrote both songs)
Huw (bass guitar on “Come Winter Rain”