reviewed by Kaitlin Ruether
It’s summer and you’re walking in the heavy heat as the smell of city (a bit of garbage, a lot of hope) permeates the air and Holy Data’s romantic and peppy “No One” is your theme. Or maybe you’re sitting in the dying autumn light in a field while half-drunk on gin and surrounded by friends while blasting “I Want It All”. You could even be breathing humid breath on a frozen car window to the slow-spreading and spacious “Don’t Look Too Close” and it would be the perfect choice. Holy Data have your all-seasons companion: a record to hold through the turbulence of life.
Holy Data sometimes bounces between grounded rock and psychedelic pop like two kids using a seesaw — one side or the other up in the air. But occasionally, the album grows up to teenagers surfboard-style balancing on the thing: a wavering feat of semi-gymnastics that tilts skillfully between. The difference between the complexly layered “Never Should I Ever” and the simplified upbeat melody of “Vacation” might be a sense of maturity, but we all need to check in with those seesaw kids every now and again.
When Holy Data are at their best, they are transcendent, and they are at their best when creating full bodied but uncomplicated music. “Orphan Maker” isn’t complex, but it is fruitful with thoughtful lyrics like “made a maze inside of time and put it on the earth / I watched them build it higher and higher only to fall again”. “Ether” begins as a wash of synths that explodes into melody and slinks around you like the ghost of a cat. Holy Data know when to pull the punches on the all-terrain album that is their debut.
Holy Data is an album that works. “There’s a deliberate smearing of boundaries,” the band explains of the record, and there isn’t a moment you don’t feel it. This is the kind of album that could shape a year, that you can put in your back pocket and bring out wherever you go. This is an album that stays with you.
Top Tracks: “Ether”; “I Want It All”
Rating: Hunting Call (Excellent) + *swoop*