Holy Wave


Written by: BV on 03/02/2014 16:16:02

Austin Psych Fest seems to be the breeding ground for emerging psych acts these days. Just by glancing at 2013, two spectacular bands (Golden Animals and Night Beats) released highly acclaimed releases via the APF backed record label Reverberation Appreciation Society. The tendency seems to continue with Holy Wave’s recent effort, “Relax”. This release sees Holy Wave exploring the full sonic capabilities of the slightly shoegazing, highly Velvet Underground-esque drone-rock coupled with the immediate pop-sensibility of bands like Elephant Stone – condensed down to a tangible, earthbound 42 minute release.

“Do You Feel It” opens the album, whilst also asking a pivotal starting question – because whether we feel it or not, will greatly affect the continued listening experience and the inevitable mental ranking, and in my case, grading of this effort. For my part, the question can be answered positively with a; “Yes, I most definitely feel it”. As the boogieing bass gently persuades me to, albeit casually, move my body along to the tune, the droning organ and the slightly nasal, yet strangely compelling vocals lure me in with the underlying promise of a great musical trip.

“Psychological Thriller” sees Holy wave taking their sound in a far more comprehensible, insanely upbeat psych-pop direction that is equal parts enthralling and confounding. So many sounds are packed into the upbeat track that is driven to the brink of utter pop-sensibility by the reverberating vocals and accompanying backup vocals. The chiming guitar is the very definition of garage-y psych pop and brings a certain Texas-psych sound to the equation – a most welcome addition indeed.

As the album slowly progresses into “Change Your Head Ecstatic Moment”, the sound gets noticeably more introvert. The tempo is slowed down significantly and rather than accompanying the listener on a euphoric trip of dance-ability, the sounds are now leading the listener directly to a psychedelic abyss – engulfing everyone and everything in a downer-trip of sorts – thus creating a remarkable contrast to the album’s opening tracks, whilst providing a beautifully executed dynamic shift.

Granted, the droning parts of the album can easily develop into a sense of monotony but it all comes down to what mood you’re in. “Relax” is not a universally relevant album – but in the right state of mind, on the stereo belonging to the right ‘type’ of listener, this album is indeed very good and signifies the very essence of a dynamic psych experience portraying equal parts of pop sensibility and freak-outs.


Download: Do You Feel It, Night Tripper, Psychological Thriller, Change Your Head Ecstatic Moment
For the fans of: Cosmonauts, Elephant Stone, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Velvet Underground
Listen: Facebook

Release date 28.01.2014
The Reverberation Appreciation Society

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