Long, Burdensome Hymnal
The debut album released by Holler, Wild Rose!, Our Little Hymnal, is anything but little. Rather, it is an arduous collection of drawn out songs catering exclusively to fans of the ambient downtempo jam band indie rock genre. While a few songs will catch the attention of the discerning ear, and inevitably draw comparisons to U2 and Radiohead, the others run together as string of music that is good for little more than falling asleep to.The bandâ€šÃ„Ã´s name is derived from the title of the first track, a seven minute anthem full of basic chords that are pushed through by driving cymbals and simplistic rhythms. The song introduces listeners to frontman John Mosloskie’s crooning voice, which at times sounds eerily similar to that of Ryan Adams. Following the opening number is the first of three short instrumental numbers called “selahs,” a biblical word loosely translated to describe a musical connection. These songs, along with the album’s title, lend themselves to religious connotations, leading listeners to wonder if the band has any underlying intentions.
Despite the droning nature of Our Little Hymnal, there are a few tracks worthy of praise. “Marylawn Chair” combines a catchy guitar riff with echoes of a flute, resulting in a unique duet. “Captive Train” is a more aggressive gospel-tinged track that, along with “Sun Vine,” showcases the talent of percussionist Ryan Smith.
Holler, Wild Rose! has established itself as a unique presence in the indie music world with Our Little Hymnal. Though not full of variety or vigor, the album highlights the band’s musical talent and artful songwriting skills. Hopefully in the future the band will try turning those talents and skills into something less monotonous and more upbeat and accessible.