Monday, February 15, 2016

Album Review :: Holy Esque - At Hope’s Ravine

Holy Esque 

At Hope’s Ravine

February 26 2016 (Beyond The Frequency)


Words: Ian Dickson

At Hope’s Ravine is the long-awaited debut album from the Glasgow's Holy Esque. Having released a handful of singles and EPs since their formation, the four-piece have managed to maintain a hunger in the industry for this release - and it certainly hits the spot.

Produced by Grammy-winner Jon Schumann (Mew, Kashmir), vocalist Pat Hynes has previously described this record's contents as being "songs about belonging, fear, love, self-doubt, dreams, religion, release, darkness versus light and escape -especially escape." Which is a pretty spot on summation. Add in a description of tough, raw, and totally gripping and you get a bonus point.

Their intent is shown right from the off in opening track ‘Prism’, where fuzzed out guitars swell to introduce the unique vocal style of singer Pat Hynes. Big guitar verses and catchy choruses are the order of the day for this album, making a refreshing change from the overly complicated music that we so often hear nowadays.

‘Hexx’ and ‘Silences’ - both featured on a previously released double A-side single - are the two standout tracks on the record. The former is a truly defined by Hynes' distinctive vocal that quivers with intensity over a bank of melodic guitars, while the latter, all frenzied, piercing guitars over which Hynes’ lyrics (“worse than all my precious pain”) are cryptic snd demanding. ‘Tear’, too, where guitars and keys yearn like a siren's lament, is a fine emotional poleaxe. The album ends on the title track, building from a slow-paced ballad into a rip-snorting old-fashioned rock outro.

It is hard to place exactly where is record would sit in the ever expanding list of genres, but if you look somewhere between 80s post-punk and modern electro-pop, I don’t think you’d be far off the mark. Whatever, get it for your collection.

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