By Andrew Brassington
Two years on from their debut ‘When The Storms Would Come’ Australian indie rock band Holy Holy are gearing up to overcome the difficult second album syndrome and release their most prolific work to date.
First thing’s first, there aren’t a lot of chords on this album, just tricky intricate flutters of guitar that add texture to the ever-blooming mix. Tim Carroll’s gorgeously endearing voice feels like home, or a lover that wants to rekindle past magic.
The album begins with ‘That Message’, a song that begins with wistful fairy-like electronic rejuvenations taken straight from a Tame Impala or City Calm Down song before sleigh bells make way into a dusty drum machine chant. At this point the texture is fairly vast, leaving room for the warm lead vocals to sneak in. The sparse open canvas remains until the chorus when the instruments all group together to produce the album’s first burst of sonic wizardly. It’s a catchy chorus that leads into a harmonious vocal section, chiming out the catch-cry ‘let it go, let it go, let it go’. This makes way for lead guitarist Oscar Dawson to have the first of many blistering solos across the record. It’s so infatuating that you don’t even realise this song only had one verse, but it didn’t need anything more. It’s very nearly the best song on the album.
Early highlight ‘Willow Tree’ morphs from another funk infused soulful indie rock jam into a wild psychedelic rock symphony driven by synths that have a space age Star Wars quality.
‘Elevator’ is the first truly great hook we are exposed to, with the chorus of ‘You were a heartbreaker, I could’ve told you that’ due to be stuck in your head for the next year and a half, as it was for me when I first heard it live back in November 2015.
Lead single ‘Darwinism’ marks the midpoint for the album. The guitars stand a lot more direct in the mix this time. Unfortunately this doesn’t leave much room for the vocals to shine through. As with most albums there are a few forgettable tunes, but I’m sure they’ll find their own fans.
‘True Lovers’ is a prophetic 80s influenced tune with a wide array of moody ambient synths and classic funky 80s guitar parts. This should’ve been a single. It is by a far a standout track.
It’s followed by ‘Amateurs’, another strong contender for best song. ‘Amateurs’ has everything that was good about 80s indie, the jangly guitar, the melancholic emotional lead vocal and a guitar solo double tracked to make it sound like a 12-string guitar. The only thing that could make this song better is if it didn’t end at just under 3 and a half minutes.
Closer ‘Send My Regards’ lends itself to a darker vibe. Then all of a sudden, the rhythm completely changes, and thus the song begins its upward spiral into a chaotic chiming operatic solo.
Holy Holy have done well in cementing themselves a place amongst the Australian music scene, and this record just further proves their worthiness.