And Everything Falls into Place
O vibrance! You have shone forth and carried us into a new age, an age of flourishes making their peace with throbbing rhythms. The subtleties of diction are thrust forth in dazzling contrast with the twisting and turning of overdrive—the slides and plucks of grand elation. Old loves and lives are held in your heart, but not brought forth so as to squander the breath of fresh air that is sweet modernity. Such exuberant expression can only serve to pull the ears of new suitors and launch a grand attack on the world at large. O vibrance, you are winning the war!
Academy Songs, Volume One is the fourth studio album by Gainesville, Florida band Holopaw, and it’s their their best work without fail. Singer/songwriter/bandleader John Orth has rallied up the right team for a perfect execution of Holopaw’s dynamic elements. His delicate delivery, one that beautifully mumbles and enunciates simultaneously, has found its best connection to the band’s asymmetrical arrangements. In fact, it feels like the work of “a band” much more than earlier albums. Despite being a concept record of sorts lyrically, addressing the sundry experiences and emotions of an all-boy prep school, it’s really the sound that makes it so special. No small part of this is producer Jeremy Scott, who has brought out the best of Holopaw.
“Academy” is a great start, introducing us to the exciting percussion that tumbles throughout. In “Diamonds,” guitars ring and stretch, with a repeating build and background vocals that conjure ’90s indie, à la Built To Spill or Pavement. With its thematic peaks and valleys, “We are the Virgin Snow” would be a wise single, introducing the myriad of sounds and tempos in the Holopaw tool belt. The chorus of “Discotheque” is a sweet, uplifting and almost hopeful melody that couldn’t be more tastefully opposed to the loneliness of the lyric. “Golden Years” wraps it up, with gospel hints and a sense of “bringing it all back home,” which is always the best way to end a record.
One last prayer, O vibrance: May there be an Academy Songs, Volume 2, and may it ring just as bright. Amen.
Note: Producer Jeremy Scott’s production house Civil Defense was destroyed by flooding in Hurricane Sandy. He and several others are working to put things back in order, and could really use some help so they can continue to make amazing records. Please donate here: http://unfloodbkmusic.blogspot.com/