The story of The Holy, a five-piece from Helsinki, Finland that boasts two drummers, is that it was built from a drunken jam session about four years ago. And in the time since the group started playing together, they’ve been in search of a sound to call their own. Will they be an angsty rock band trying to peel the paint off the walls through their volume and intensity? Or will they be something a little artsier, dreamier and poppier? And where will the languid vocals of leader Eetu Henrik Iivari fit into their chosen direction?
Where The Holy wound up, especially on their debut full-length Daughter is somewhere in the middle of those two paths. There’s plenty of agitated post-punk at the core of this album but it is wrapped tightly in layered keyboard and string melodies and a healthy understanding of negative space. It’s an approach that forces Iivari to push his voice further to the fore and not simply rely on its inherent, often seductive poignancy. Throughout songs like ‘20xx Tomorrow’ and the tense opener ‘Land Before Time,’ he stretches for the far reaches of his range and dares to let it rasp and break on the way.
Daughter works best then when it meshes the dual musical mindsets of dream pop and post-punk. ‘Tom Cat’ opens with an array of shimmering colors and flickering keyboard tones before cracking through with shatter of guitar noise and the crash of the group’s dual drummers Mikko Maijala and Pyry Peltonen demanding your attention and respect. But by the time the band kicks the otherwise low lit ‘Triumph of Love’ into into a high gear during the song’s final minute, it feels as if it arrived way too late. We’ve already put our coats on and are heading out of the door.
The Holy - Daughter is out now