Album Review: Holy Holy – When The Storms Would Come

When The Storms Would Come

HolyHolyAlbumCoverReleased 30th October 2015

Words: Sion Ford

Given that Holy Holy are only comprised of two natives of differing coasts of Australia, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is a group made up of a number of musicians who have been at this for a long time together. The truth is that Timothy Carroll and Oscar Dawson are doing this by themselves and only came together following a meeting as teachers in a foreign land, going on to find that there was a mutual musical understanding which now results in the release of their debut record, When The Storms Would Come. Having already been released in their homeland, the record will be released in the UK at the end of the month, and should prove to be a success with a great many music fans.

Their style is a soft one that, among other things, makes use of understated guitars and resting vocals, although their ability to write songs that immediately catch your attention is really something. It’s a contemporary sound that they’ve crafted, but it also carries a classic atmosphere – they almost have a nostalgic sound to them, as though some of these songs are ones you’ve known all along, when in reality they are as new as it comes. Opening track Sentimental And Monday is a great embodiment of that, creating a spacey soundscape that invites the listener in with a welcome.

If you wanted to pigeonhole the duo into a musical genre, then they would firmly occupy the indie rock slot, but it wouldn’t be fair to just paint them in that one colour when there’s an obvious layer of influences that have come to bear on their songs. Take the third track, A Heroine, as an example of a song that shows itself to have different qualities than your stereotypical indie rock number, bordering on an almost Tame Impala-esque psychedelic sound. It rips and roars into crescendos while maintaining the same continuous atmosphere that’s an ever-present across the album.

One of the struggles that bands entering this genre for the first time have is to differentiate themselves from the crowd, to throw down the marker that identifies them as something unfamiliar in a saturated field. Perhaps one of the best attributes of this album is that Holy Holy have very definitely succeeded in that respect, as the record is comprised of a number of songs that showcase the band’s identity. When you then also consider that this is only the first musical venture of Holy Holy, things get a lot more exciting.

Another string to the bow of this album is that the group have been able to shift their songwriting across a spectrum: objectively there are notably happy songs and those that take on a darker, heavier feel (a.k.a. the ones I prefer). In effect this makes for quite a nice balance on the album, with a good contrast in the songs – while the opening section of the album has a light hearted feel to it, by the time you get to You Cannot Call For Love Like A Dog in all its slightly hair metal feel glory an audible shift has taken place.

With a tendency to judge new albums, songs or artists within the first few seconds of listening to a song – to my own fault – this can be a bit of a knee-jerk reaction, but it has proven a relatively reliable judgement mechanism in the past. While I can only speak for myself, the initial reaction to Holy Holy’s record has been nothing but positivity. It’s hard to describe what exactly it is about their music that does it, but there’s just something about their songs that resonate a little bit; not so much lyrically as sonically.

It’s been a rare thing for the debut album or release of a new group I’ve covered to immediately mark itself out as a favourite, and often there’s some skepticism on my part, but on this occasion Holy Holy have trumped the odds and their debut album When The Storms Would Come has waltzed its way onto the list of my most enjoyed albums this year. This duo are genuinely a pair to keep an eye on as this record is full of promise for a first effort, and it promises a lot for the future that this is what they’re capable of producing on their first go.

Listen to You Cannot Call For Love Like A Dog here:

 

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