Even though we were taught by our mothers to never judge a book by its cover, it’s pretty easy to guess Holy Wave’s shtick before the needle hits. Hailing from Austin, this raggle taggle five piece deal in psych, but a more languid, harmonious way.
Low key and heavily reverbed throughout, their third album Freaks of Nurture is an intimate piece of pastoral psychedelia which replaces oddball freak-outs with gorgeous melody. The Byrds-influenced chime of “She Put A Seed In My Ear” is topped off with fuzz bass and swirling keyboards, similar to the kind of stoner slackdom of The Shins or Fleet Foxes.
“Western Playand“ is hypnotic and insistent, motorik, but without urgency, like spluttering down the autobahn in some shitty clapped out car. They operate best in this sludgy manner; the highlight “California Took My Bobby Away” is a dreamy piece of modern day shoegaze pop performed with a total lack of urgency. The lethargic meloncholy proves to be even more alluring with each listen.
It’s not all weed smoke and permanently closed curtains though. When they chose to, Holy Wave also come up with killer rock tracks with spike. The mellifluous indie jangle of “You Should Lie” reveals itself as Teenage Fanclub on speed before thrashing out in a trashy My Bloody Valentine-influenced piece of white noise cacophony. “Air Wolf” is another example of their rock'n'roll geekery; the riffs are pure Merseybeat, the monochrome hum reminiscent of Spacemen Three, the distant sound of indie pop showing a love of Sarah and Postcard records. These three disparate sounds are executed with un-urgent ease, until they shake off the fug for a spectacular closing section of drone screeching.
For those who thought DIIV's recent album Is The Is Are was too long or too polished, this record comes from the same place. It’s unassuming and introverted, an odd mix of murk and clarity which proves to be ever more intriguing with each listen.