Holy Oak - Second Son - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Holy Oak - Second Son

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:8 Release Date:2017-06-09

Neil Holyoak is quite a deceptive guy. In a positive way. Look at what he says about himself: “Singer-songwriter Nick Holyoak has been a student of anthropology, a small-time sheet metal salesman, nihilistic futurist, amateur rifleman, left-handed socialist, soft alcoholic and prison warden of his soul”. Smart, smart, and plus points already. His first self-titled album was out as far back as 2009, so even those who heard it, probably forgot about it. But what does that tell you about the music on his album Second Son?

It tells you that there is yet another deception around the bend. To decide whether it is a one you like or not depends on the themes Holyoak covers. You see, Nick seems like when he went to school in Montreal he seemed like a gentle, quiet one, but if you venture into his bedroom, you would see the walls covered with pictures of Freddy. Krueger that is, not Mercury. Well, maybe one or two of those, they would fit in. And like some current greats you can compare him to, like Bonnie ‘Price’ Billy or late Jason Molina, all of that shows in his music and lyrics. The music is all quiet and gentle, while the lyrics cover the themes that could be a part of a soundtrack for Leftovers, Twin Peaks or True Detective. You even get vampires to boot.

The thing is, and the reason Holyoak’s concept is so deceptive is that there is nothing jarring in this combination. Holyoak comes up with some incredibly mellow, melodious tunes, that can even be compelling enough to make you gently doze off. Unless you start paying attention to what he’s singing about. And he has a way with words and can transport you into a completely dark cinema where a very scary movie is playing. That kind of a scary movie that can make it seem quite real. What's even more, Holyoak shows signs of great arranging skills that can propel his music (and lyrics) even further. Part of it goes down to Howard Bilerman who produced the album and did the same for “small” names like Leonard Cohen, Arcade Fire and Godspeed! You Black Emperor.

All in all a great, very promising release from a name to watch.

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