Music to take a nap to, if it weren’t so good
Holy Wave is a band of psychedelic connoisseurs and chillwave devotees; they make the kind of music that would fall apart if one put too much effort into it. Their latest LP, Interloper, doesn’t sprint out of the gates as much as it methodically rolls out note after spacey, luscious note.
The album sounds as if they’re taking a trip to the moon without hurrying to get there. A cool wave of cascading vibraphones and strings suspends the listener in a soothing pool of thought in “Schmetterling,” a name that’s almost eager to disguise the song’s rewarding tranquility (it’s German for “butterfly”). The singing is soft and soulful, but it shares the spotlight with the band’s knack for composition, a strength that consistently reinforces the record as a whole.
Even if people aren’t tuning in to appreciate the band’s musicianship, however, there’s still enough FM-friendly material here to offer a casual listen. “Escapism,” a gust of wind trapped in a song, is aptly named, beaming rays of sun from filtered guitars and echoes. The effects dazzle, with the sounds of calming waves and steaming tea kettles peppering the acoustic landscape.
Crashes of static pervade “R&B” while a gentle yet full-blooded synthesizer line molds the track into a lullaby. The background vocals are efficient rather than complex, providing spirit-lifting accents to match the denser instrumental side. As refreshing as the band’s mastery of chillwave aesthetics can be, Holy Wave is not without its influences, and the nimble drums on the title track (“Interloper”) are indebted to prog rock luminaries like Pink Floyd.
Interloper indeed appears to have one foot in the past and one in the present, which has seen a hearty revival of the ‘60s with the help of nostalgic flagbearers like Tame Impala and Mac DeMarco. Holy Wave seems destined to make Donovan proud and join that list.