Four-Letter Word (Holy Fuck, Congrats review)
Blasphemous or obscene language. That’s what I read when I looked up profanity in the dictionary.
Apparently it bothers some, offends others, and it irreverent to many. We could put attention on the Internet, loosening morals, higher education or any number of subjects, but the point is this. When you use a swear word, people will pay attention.
At least for a minute or two. Holy Fuck.
Holy Fuck – Congrats
released May 27, 2016
Holy Fuck is a Canadian electronica band currently on the Young Turks label. The band uses live instruments and several non instruments to create their unique sound, which sounds electronic but is not created with laptops or tracks. For example, they’ve been known to use toy phaser guns in their songs. Seriously.
A good instrumental act is hard to find, but once you do, you better hold on tight because their sound will be a snowflake in the summer, beautiful and unique, but fleeting. You can capture it and put it under glass, but it won’t function the same way. That’s probably why the best instrumental acts are often on independent labels, untapped and underexposed potential.
Suffice it to say Holy Fuck are a good indie instrumental act, though you are probably wondering how Congrats fares as an album overall, right dear readers?
I personally really like House of Glass, that opener uses a really cool baseline and what sounds to be sirens to evoke darkness without ever being explicit, and wait for the build up – it’ll give you goosebumps. Tom Tom and Sabbatics are also some kind of wonderful. Tom Tom with it’s glitchy soundscape and haunting vocals and Sabbatics with it’s ever-rising climb of rhythm.
This is the kind of dance album that we could have used 4 or 5 years ago, but which the band wasn’t around to make. Likely because they were recharging after 3 strong album efforts and an end of the dance-rock heavy era of the oughts.
And with that consideration, the true question remains – are Holy Fuck still relevant? Or were they ever?
Holy Fuck is both my electronic dream and electric nightmare. Their capacity to produce non-electronic sounds that actually sound better than the real thing is simply fantastic and proof that au naturel is how I like it.
The supposed problem though, is that dance rock doesn’t have a lasting impression with the masses, at least not one that helps you remember it as a good experience. And unfortunately Holy Fuck is also something of an exercise in construction. They figure out a way to make a track and piece together the disparate elements, but never take a real risk to produce higher level sonic bliss. Kind of like that friend which you know will make you laugh and you feel perfectly comfortable with at the party, but isn’t going to floor you with philosophy later on.
It’s hard to fault them though, when the beats are so bumpin. To quite Anthony Fantano, I’m feeling a solid 7.5 to an 8 on this one… And transition.
Holy Fuck aren’t a gimmick band, despite what moments of this write-up might tell you. If anything, I suspect they are subversive little dance-rock enthusiasts and they wanted a way to play music while poking holes in some of the weaker genre elements.
With Congrats they’ve successfully done that, but the question remains. Are they still relevant?