Hologram – Absolute Zero EP

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8/10

Hologram have been slowly crafting and fine-tuning their sounds in Maxime Sokolinski’s flat for a year before releasing anything (yes, that’s SoKo‘s brother for the astute). La Femme’s Clara Luciani completes the French dreampop duo, who specialise in aural air conditioning – even in this sweltering summer sun, their music incites chilled zephyrs and spine-tingling shivers.

Their first single ‘Absolute Zero’ – also the title of this release, their debut EP – received rave reviews and the unwashed masses are clamouring for more with clammy paws. No wonder – it’s like someone covered their hand in treacle and punched you in the face, with sweet harmonies and frosty psych-pop synths embracing to transform into a proper belter.

Absolute Zero has only four tracks. That’s by far the worst thing about Hologram – ever impatient, we’re not going to be able to survive on only this aperitif for long. The calibre of their noise is a double-edged sword; there’s a worry that if it took them a year to come up with four tracks, then we may not see their full-length for quite some time.

Opening the EP is ‘I’ve Got Eyes’ a breezy folktronica effort. Misty male/female vocal duels take place above crystalline synth drones before eventually prominent rolling bass and glimmering guitars enter the fray. Hologram have a firm grasp of dynamics, frequently toying with the louds and the quiets to convey emotion, giving them an added dimension. In the latter half of the track, sounds merge and weld together, the situation clouds and though the texture is thick, it doesn’t suffocate.

‘Mistakes’ closes the EP. It’s darker, with bedroom-producer post-dubstep snares and sacrosanct synths. It’s almost choral. There’s a metropolitan-hymn tone that ensues, and although fairly menacing at moments, it’s also rewarding in that gorgeous vocal melodies and wistful hooks permeate the shadows. It’s cathartic.

It’s patently clear that this is a labour of love for Hologram. They’ve painstakingly constructed an EP that they should, and undoubtedly are, proud of. Many fingers are crossed hoping that this isn’t the last we hear of them in 2013, though given the mind-blowing quality of Absolute Zero, it’s unlikely we will, even if they don’t have any more to release.

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