Onicks – “High” – an extremely visceral listening experience

Written by on 2 April 2020

Even in its darkest moments, “High” smacks with a sense of confidence that almost appears to betray its subject matter. Tortured singer songwriter, Onicks’ new single is the culmination of recent experiments with his original sound, resulting in a deeper dive into the alternative pop-rock realm. Yet at the same time, this single could easily fall into the edgy R&B urban sound. The more important thing is that “High” is an excellent continuation of Onicks evolution as an artist, as it manages to explore its overarching subject matter in a meaningful fashion. It doesn’t forget his roots, but it also doesn’t forget that he’s aspiring to develop and reshape his past into something new and enticing. And when you get down to it, “High” manages to be utterly compelling because of this blend.

Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley of California, Onicks comes from a turbulent past which includes substance abuse, experimentation, and rebellion. Growing up he learned to play several instruments including the drums, trumpet, and keyboards, which matched his vocal skills.

Hence he often found solace in making music during the darker periods of his life. After high school, Onicks released two singles which became extremely popular in the LGBTQ community worldwide, but his demons caught up with him again.

He eventually found the strength to turn his life around and get back into music, and he has used those darker times to cultivate edgy sounding music that affronts afflicting themes. This is exactly what happens on “High”, and the results are more consistently impressive.

This is a mature, sophisticated composition that, nevertheless, does not lose sight of the torment that provides much of its inspiration. Though an extremely visceral listening experience, there is more artistic confidence shown here, a seeming willingness to take ideas to defined conclusions.

Onicks’ vocals slide across electro-rock canvass like honey dripping off a spoon – aching, searching, and soaring: “I’m seeing little hairs on my body sticking straight up. I’ve got this feelin’ that I need my fix I gotta stay up.”

He has this bittersweet, sticky presence that beckons all things warm and beautiful. Behind the veil of urgency, however, Onicks is reeling. There’s a pained longing while he draws out “You, you know what I want. You, you know what I need,” during the building bridge.

There’s nothing coincidental about this sort of repetition: Onicks is making a point of saying more with less, taking potent emotions and tucking them into a plain white envelope for us to open and interpret. He’s as lucid as ever, stripping down to his emotional core and daring us to listen.

“High” is a record completely stripped of any fluff, and delivered as an impacting, immensely honest piece of story-telling music. Whichever way you interpret the lyrical and visual metaphors (once you see the video), this is a track full of deep meaning and massive emotional weight.

The emotion in this track almost jumps through the speakers – something about everything contained within “High” just feels so real, so human and personal. Onicks’ performance will tear your heart apart in the process.


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