By JOHN DALY
American High has taken a political bent with the single “Cheye Calvo,” a track that centers on the subject of public victimization by errant police raids. The track is named after Cheye Calvo, the Berwyn Heights, Maryland, mayor, and his family who were so invaded.
It’s not a new idea to incorporate the news into music. In today’s era of corporate dominance and disappearing independent news outlets, musicians play an important role in the getting the news out there. Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan brought American strife into their songwriting. In the late 1970s-early 1980s, The Clash put the Sandinista uprisings in Nicaragua to music and incorporated themes of political uprising into their work.
American High is doing something similar in a noble fashion and here, the band is taking aim at the search and seize drug enforcement tactics going on today. How would you like it if you were sitting in your home and a SWAT team came in blasting first, asking questions later? Someone in your house is shot dead and then you find out they got the wrong house?
The Sacramento-based band says it thinks drugs are a bad idea, but the tactics the police are using to apprehend and bust people are worse. In many cases the task forces are conveying incorrect information to the SWAT teams doing the dirty work.
American High asks: “Do you support drug prohibition? Are you aware of what is being done in your name in order to enforce drug laws? What happened to Cheye Calvo happened to 100 other people too.”
The theme is the obvious motivation for writing the single, but the music is interesting. The sound on “Cheye Calvo” is similar to REM an extra added sense of educating listeners. It’s particularly satisfying when musicians take the time to call attention to an issue or series of issues that can affect everyone.
Check out the American High website