Holy Fuck - Latin - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Holy Fuck - Latin

by Alexandra Pett Rating:8 Release Date:2010-05-10

Holy Fuck are one part American rock band, one part synthy/ambient electronic wizards, one part of something that doesn't fit in any box and a dash of non-conformist genius thrown in for good measure. Latin, the third album from the Canadian post rock electronica experimentalists (if its even possible to tag them) is the aural equivalent of an 80s road movie. It's unfussy but well thought out music that makes you think of journeys and landscapes, not much in the way of vocals with the odd supplement of ambient noise slapped up with a rocky edge. It's an album where the drums rule, driving every tune like a road train, sometimes verging on uniformity, but giving the album a definite style and energy. I was predisposed to not like Latin because a friend of mine had unequivocally stated they thought it was not good. But I did like it. Mostly.

'One' is definitely a stoic choice of opener - gently rising ambient noise to begin, a bit Spiritualised, a bit Animal Collective's 'Graze', gradually getting rougher and more static-y until it reaches a spine tingling crescendo like the spaceship taking off in ET (!). Which does make the next track a bit of an anticlimax but nevertheless, this is an opener with a proper and appropriate sense of occasion. In comparison, 'Red Lights' does sound quite muted with its electric guitar reminiscent of a 70s cop show soundtrack. It's guitar-heavy music, fit to accompany a journey across long, wide roads with just enough top end synth in there to keep it interesting. What I like most about this track is just before the end the drums suddenly change, first twisting into majorette/marching band style and then eventually keeping the travelling theme going, sounding like a train.

'Latin America' is a vista of a tune - broad and long. It has a much more electronic start to it which makes you think its going to become something very different to 'Red Lights' and it's almost a bit disappointing when it doesn't take a more electronic turn off. The drums again are a feature but 'Latin America' escapes the sameyness of some of the other tunes because it has a kind of a throbbing bass that pulses throughout underneath everything else and easy piano chords to give it a great lightness. Right at the end the samba-ish beats of the title break through, giving the track a flourishing, clever finish. 'Stay Lit' is wonderfully dramatic. I love the stuttering synths in the intro and the fact that the track just builds and builds and builds, making it quite hard to listen to sitting down. There's a substantial dose of theatre in there with the uneven drum beat and savage electric guitar, distorted to give it a ragged feel.

The deliciously Dickensianly titled 'Silvia & Grimes' opens in a way that reminds me of a Bat For Lashes tune and the track sounds like it will be exciting as it starts to motor through. But I wondered is it little bit lacking? It's another cascading tune that builds and builds and builds - it starts out a bit Orbital until the drums come in - and on this album we have heard this before. 'SHT MTN' has an industrial start and is a bit different with the little computer beeps and beats paving the way for a big drum beat and prominent cowbell. For some reason this track made me think of Barbarella and Bladerunner, that vocal sounding like an announcement on a space station in one of those slightly unnerving retro films full of people with strange morals. It's a heavy tune that grinds its way through 2-minutes-51, taking on a bit of a 'Psyence Fiction' era UNKLE mantle.

'Stilettos' is speedy and thrilling with furious drumming conjuring up the wind in your hair on the back of a motorbike driving across the Nevada desert at sunset. Well, that's what it did for me anyway. 'Lucky' returns to static-y noises to open accompanied by breakbeaty drums, dominant hi hat/cymbal and a very distorted vocal. Towards the end the track almost begins to sounds like an indie guitar band song - some kind of big, uplifting anthem, from likes of Kings of Leon in their more recent incarnation. 'Pigs' is technoey, ravey, a heavy tune and not for the weak minded or those coming round from a heavy weekend. The track could perfectly accompany a double drop with its relentless beat and swirly, high- inducing background. I found 'Positive Ghosts' a bit laboured, it wasn't my favourite track. Similarly, 'Grease Fire' is of a 1980s vintage and has a high class start, a bit Top Gun, very rocky but in places, but it left me with the aftertaste of bad European rock/pop. Finally 'Russell X' gives good, laid-back beats, electronic samples and well used interference. The vocal is distorted and the track is peppered with industrial samples and screeches and has an air of Pendulum although without the drum n bass beat.

I liked a lot of this album - really liked it. The rest I might have liked if it appeared in a collection of less similar sounding tracks but as they were I could take or leave. It is obvious that a lot of talent and imagination has been funnelled into Latin and its production but I felt a couple of the tracks were a bit formulaic - synths and electronica plus indie drums at varying speeds. The drums are also very dominant - the same drum sound - which made some of the tracks sound like fillers. However, I do admire Holy Fuck's style and the fact that you can't really compare them to anyone else with any certainty and I did listen to this record over and over again, feet a tapping, head a nodding. Maybe the album is a bit like a Latin textbook- underestimated, challenging and creative in places but it could easily be a bit shorter.

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