Holopaw - Academy Songs Volume 1

by Lewis Shepherd Rating:7 Release Date:2013-02-11

Holopaw isn't a name that springs into my mind when I start thinking of bands that aren't tearing up the charts. In fact, until I reviewed this album I'd never heard of the band, yet I was intrigued by them due to the description of their sound. Blending as a mixture of indie-rock, country and folk together into 40 minutes worth of songs, Holopaw have created a great alternative soundtrack for your summer, festival travels and beach day parties with their fourth album, Academy Songs Volume 1.

Sounding a little like the alternative pop group Fun. but without all the annoyance and whining that comes with them, the band recorded this album at the beach, and you get a real feel of that while listening to the record as they combine a mixture of ethereal, haunting and earthy sounding songs. One thing I like is the mix of songs, by which I mean that some concentrated on the sweet and earthy yet powerful indie vocals of John Orth, which really made you feel something, whether it was sadness or delight. Others concentrated on the music, where guitar riffs and drumbeats took centre stage over the vocals.

In terms of songs, 'Golden Sparklers' and 'Infidels' are definite standout tracks with their varying mix of upbeat and down-key guitars and drums, and haunting yet surprisingly steady vocals. But the best track on the album has to be 'We Are the Virgin Snow', which is a blend of indie-folk and is a little depressing but also quite buoyant. In other words, it's quite a bipolar song as the haunting vocals and sadness which lies underneath blend well with the build up of drums and folk dancing-inspired music.

Towards the end of the album some of the songs do begin to sound a bit samey, as if they are blending into one. But don't let that deter you as the majority will make you want to dance around in a carefree child-of-the-60s way. Overall, this album is a great blend of songs you could listen to anywhere. Some do sound similar but what artist isn't guilty of that? It's just a shame, with bands such as Mumford & Sons doing so well, that this band hasn't broken into the mainstream yet. Hopefully we will hear more from them in the future.

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