Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sweeping The Nation Albums Of 2007: Number 18

No way can he hold that flag with one hand

Holy Fuck's USP has been that they improvise without pre-set or sequenced keyboards, everything achieved through vintage keyboards, noise generators of all sources and a hell of a lot of percussion, all recorded live to tape. Which is mightily impressive in itself, but the result is the sort of thing, almost in a happy accident sense, that lesser bands than the constantly personnel shifting Torontonians will spend weeks in the studio trying to feed through PCs to emulate. There's certainly madness aforethought in these grooves, but also immense amounts of sparky energy that feeds from the recording set-up and belies the analogue origins by the simple expedient that for the most part it sounds electronic. If Battles are the mathematical dons of this new strain of instrumental post-rock then Holy Fuck are its most ADHD-inflicted students - they aim fair for the head, but like !!! they're primarily about getting the feet moving.

Indeed first track Super Inuit, actually taken from a recording of a !!! support show after, like all these songs, being perfected on the road, builds like the headliners' instrumental workouts into a percussive, bassline heavy tight workout featuring plenty of cymbal. Indeed, LP's strength is that from such beginnings come non-sequenced grooves that outstrip most of those that do build on similarly analogue origined loops. Milkshake could have come direct from the likes of Crystal Castles, based on a sole ring modulator loop around which synths twinkle, surge and disappear in all directions, while Frenchy's impressively builds and builds upon a keyboard pattern of the type that Does It Offend You, Yeah? are currently building a mountain of hype on by itself. Lovely Allen comes on like Holy Fuck's own battle hymn, beginning with martial drums and eventually blossoming into skyscraping keyboard figures reminiscent of a darker version of 80s 4AD contenders Colourbox, guest Owen 'Final Fantasy' Pallett's violin pushing somewhere in the mix. The Pulse is more impressive still, a single keyboard pulse oscillated and pitch shifted as Neu! percussion and post-punk guitars and bass fence it in, and Safari warps what sounds like an 8-bit video game soundtrack into car chase theme bass and Lightning Bolt drums. Throughout, you get the idea that these are moreover people making danceable music who for once sound like they're having fun doing so while still pushing themselves and their instrument's limits further and further. Unencumbered by lyrics throughout, LP achieves the aims of both being a great big dumb rhythmic dance album and pushing away at those limitations of the mini-genre.

LISTEN ON: Lovely Allen
WATCH ON: Milkshake


My favourite album of 2007 is...

Grandmaster Gareth, Misty's Big Adventure: Pram - The Moving Frontier

Dan Ormsby, 4 Or 5 Magicians: The Jai-Alai Savant - Flight Of The Bass Delegate

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