With the profile that Holy Holy have in Australia, you’d be forgiven for assuming that they have already released at least one album. They have such a mature and confident sound that gives off the impression that they’ve been developing and honing it for a long time. And yet, When The Storms Would Come is in fact their first major release, following on from The Pacific EP as Holy Holy’s debut in early 2014.
Our first hint at the album’s direction came in the form of their huge single You Cannot Call For Love Like A Dog back in April. It’s like being on a plane as it guns down a runway, taking off with a blistering guitar solo and soaring vocals. The second single, History, suggested that the album would vary in its intensity and feeling. It presents more sinister-sounding songwriting that is less intense but still sounds massive.
When The Storms Would Come meanders around the theme of a person’s perspective on a relationship, but does not fall into cliché territory. The lyrics often are introspective, like in Holy Gin where a slight tremolo effect symbolically echoes the song’s message: “In a perfect world I know my way through the maze of my mind.” Words aside, the vocals alone take on a character that tap straight into your soft side. In the album’s opening moments on Sentimental And Monday, Timothy Carroll’s seamlessly gliding falsetto pushes me into an emotional state of feeling before I’ve had time to comprehend the lyrics.
Carroll and his songwriting/instrumental partner Oscar Dawson have produced a body of work that is texturally rich and evokes a sense of flow. The songs range in character, from hints of folk revival territory on Outside Of The Heart Of It, to frenetic and expressive wrestling with the guitar on Pretty Strays For Hopeless Lovers, and a stripped back piano base in the closer The Crowd. But each song is undeniably watermarked with Holy Holy’s songwriting and production choices.
While you can hear a slight resemblance to other artists in the Wonderlick label family (Boy and Bear springs to mind in particular) the overall production has resulted in a sound that the talented duo can claim as their own. Both instrumentally and lyrically they’ve crafted an album that is massive, yet personal, and has a quality that induces you to feel the music rather than listen to it. When The Storms Would Come shows us that it’s still possible to stand out amongst the sea of indie pop/rock that floods the musical landscape.