Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Album Review: Holy Esque - Holy Esque (EP)

EP Rating: A
Imagine The National with a kick, The Walkmen loosened up or Titus Andronicus bereft of their less tolerable imperfections. It is, quite simply, a recipe for indie rock perfection, and it's also more or less what Holy Esque sound like - with the results in practice being just as good as they seem on paper. It's a fairly daunting list of proclamations to attach to a band who have been in existence for little more than a year, but with such an impressive sonic arsenal at their disposal, this Glasweigan four-piece appear custom-built to take the genre by storm. Indeed if this debut EP proves anything, it's that they're already pretty close to fulfilling those vast reserves of potential, and have generated a momentum so profound that there could be no ceiling to what they can accomplish with subsequent releases.

Although their roots are clearly based across the Atlantic, the most common port of call among many observers has in fact been fellow Brits WU LYF. Much of this inevitably stems from the fact that the pair recently shared a stage on the Manc's latest UK tour, but even so there are a handful of undeniable similarities - the most obvious being Pat Hynes' weathered rasp, which falls somewhere in between that of Ellery Roberts and The Undertones' Feargal Sharkey. The effect of that particular quirk is also in keeping with the former, conveying the same air of mystique and curiously emotive punch that made Go Tell Fire To The Mountain such an unqualified success. For all of these resemblances, though, the fact of the matter is that Holy Esque's music is markedly different.

Aside from being infinitely more intelligible, the main differentiation is that Holy Esque's precedence is placed firmly on melody as opposed to atmospherics, which results in a sound that's both immediate and accessible in comparison. Hynes' performance is key throughout, his faltering vocal connecting seamlessly with a barrage of controlled chaos impeccably engineered by producer Kevin Burleigh, and more often than not it's a chemistry which yields remarkable results. Opener 'Ladybird Love' epitomises these qualities, with the vocalist's irresistible aura driving it from the off amid a splendid wall of sound not dissimilar from fellow Scots and former Burleigh clients Glasvegas. 'Loneliest Loneliness' on the other hand uses many of the same characteristics but draws them out in a more reflective shoegazing pose, while 'Rose' and 'Prophet Of Privilege' both take a more direct path, with soaring riffs providing even more thrust to what is already an immensely fruitful template.

The flexibility that they display within that formula is another hugely commendable trait, with each track here proving immensely gratifying in it's own unique right. Sure, there are certain areas which hold room for improvement, but as an opening gambit this is a rousing statement and one made all the more sensational by the minimal period of time in which it's creators have been playing together. Upward progression from this point forth is by no means assured, but the quality of this EP alone is enough to cement their reputation as Scotland's best new band, and one of the brightest emerging names in the indie world. Believe the hype. Buy the EP. Join the plaudits. Holy Esque are a new band to treasure.

Holy Esque's self-titled EP will be released via iTunes on April 23rd. 'Ladybird Love' and 'Rose' are already streaming on Spinner and the band's SoundCloud page respectively.



1. Ladybird Love
2. Rose
3. Loneliest Loneliness
4. Prophet Of Privilege

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