When you get a record from Captured Tracks, you sort of know what you’re getting into, but Holograms, one of the newest bands on the label, are here to change your preconceived notions. Their self-titled debut is dark, but it’s definitely fueled by a punk sensibility that provides listeners with an angst ridden record you can throw on to lift your spirits.
“Monolith” is the second longest track on the record, and it comes with a great sense of foreboding. A bass line slowly moves in just before you get the swirl of the angry guitar sound. Hollow vocals dictate a more industrial feeling, and then they blast forward. Energy, distortion, brash youthfulness; it’s all there. But, then “Chase My Mind” comes into play, giving more of a traditional pop sensibility to Holograms. Light synthesizers and a steady drumbeat provide little bits of a propulsive hook. It’s the sort of track that energizes you; it encourages you to appreciate the vibrance that underlies a great deal of punk rock.
One of the things that differentiates this self-titled affair is its reliance upon a tradition that encourages anthemic choruses, no matter how angry and bitter the music may sound. Take a track like “ABC City” and you immediately feel the bass growing in your speakers, and as the band jettisons off, you’re tossed back to an era when frivolous pogoing was popular. Even the lyrics have a tendency to be screamed at the top of your lungs, though the Swedish accents make it a touch more difficult to perfect your sing-a-long. Holograms even seem to have captured the swagger that I adored in my punk rock heroes growing up, which is sometimes lacking in modern acts. “Fever,” for instance, is a pretty straight forward punk rock tune, but the vocal delivery reeks of cockiness (or brattiness if you like) and as you listen you can feel the grin creeping upon your face. Still, the band’s not just content to revel in the past.
A great deal of the record also has that industrial post-punk sound, which honestly revolves a great deal around the way the vocals are recorded. They seem distant on a track like “Memories of Sweat” where the swirling guitars and pounding drums do the body of the song’s work. There’s a primal element to the track, giving it a raw emotion that makes it endearing to listeners. Some might find that the recording of such tracks weakens the effort, but I think it’s quite the contrary, allowing the band’s songwriting and vibrant energy to push beyond the limits of your speakers.
Holograms is a record that warms your heart as you listen, especially if you consider yourself voiced in the annals of punk rock. What makes it thoroughly enjoyable though is that it goes beyond some of the typical stereotypes, adding a darker element that often goes missing in modern renditions of the style. Still, Holograms have given you hooks too, which will make any listener swoon; it makes for a great record that you’ll soon learn to love.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Chasing-My-Mind.mp3]
Download:Holograms – Chasing My Mind [MP3]