It’s easy to believe in the London, ON band Holy Roller. Their music is a bright blend of pop-rock, almost surf-rock, is moveable, and damn catchy. For whatever reason, the unrelenting sunniness that’s usually paired with this style of music is not fully present in Back It Up. There’s a disillusionment that’s clearly at play in the trio’s debut EP that balances a brightness with just enough darkness to make the band multi-dimensional. It’s surf-rock on a rainy day. A party where a fight breaks out.
“Everybody Knows” and “Solider On” are the best examples of this balancing act. In the former, some fun “woo-hoos” (reminiscent of the Arkells) lighten the sadness (like the line, “everybody knows that something, something that’ll tear your world apart”) that fills the deceitfully catchy chorus. The riff-tastic “Solider On” similarly has a poppy sound that hides sadness – in this case a tale of heartbreak highlighted by the line, “beat me black and blue but I will solider on.”
“Back It Up” is the prickliest of the bunch. Heavily charged with fuzzy power chords, its rough and focused demeanour make it the EP standout. Even the chorus’ simple repetition of the line “back it up” is able to avoid feeling too redundant and instead just adds to the strength of the song.
If “Back It Up” is the roughest, the explosive opener, “Bicycle Day” is the smoothest. With guitar parts bouncing around, it’s retro-pop vibe is hard to deny, completing Holy Roller’s solid debut.
Top Track: “Back It Up”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)