HOLY WAVE – ” California Took My Bobby Away “

Posted: March 10, 2016 in MUSIC
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The languorous ripples in Lady Bird Lake hide an undetectable lysergic compound that has turned the Violet Crown city into a lush and fertile culture for psychedelic music to flourish. Roky Erickson, The 13th Floor Elevators, Shiva’s Headband, and other 60’s psych bands germinated Austin’s psychedelic seeds decades ago. While many other analagous bands have flowered through the years, there is an unmistakable psych renaissance occurring in the city of its inception, nearly a half-century later. The multi-instrumentalist local quintet, Holy Wave, is one of the Austin groups at the tip of the spear of this burgeoning revival.

Endeavoring their third full-length album, Freaks of Nurture, the group has taken an impressionist approach to their sound, exacting sharp and precise brush strokes of shoe-gazed sound that begins to meld and blend into a panorama of psychedelic beauty. The album begins with a building anticipation of fuzzed-out surf guitars that wash over a stalking drum beat on “She Put A Seed In My Ear”. The appeal of Holy Wave’s sound isn’t instantly identifiable, but rather it creeps up like a room full of mirrors and whispers, an enticing siren that leads you to an epiphany of ethereal soundscapes and angelic choruses.


“Wendy Go Round” keeps the mood light and airy, and precariously on the cusp of falling into Strawberry Alarm Clock-type 60’s fodder, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The album’s third track, “Western Playland”, is special; dexterous guitar-picking at the beginning of the song hooks the listener in the cheek and drags them into a building chorus that levels out into a chanting harmony that is as wistfully aloof as it is addictively confectioned. “You Should Lie” revs up the RPM’s of the pace of the album, while the dreamy “California Took My Bobby Away” is a lackadaisical stroll with a tinge of melancholy that is reminiscent of Air’s Virgin Suicides tracks.

The second half of the album kicks off with the uplifting track “Airwolf”, which elevates the mood to a high-frequency once more, while the following “Our Pigs” is a carnival-esque stomper that meanders aimlessly. “Sir Isaac Nukem” conveys a soft heavenly soundscape that builds beautifully into dissonant thrashing, and “Magic Landing” is particularly cutting and magnetic with its urgency, possessing distinct similarities to contemporary shoe gaze bands like DIIV and Wild Nothing.

“Minstrel’s Gallop” finishes off the album with an amalgam of all of Holy Wave’s best attributes; droning and wistful lyrics, sun-drenched synths, and entrancing guitar picking. While there is a trace amount of filler in Freaks of Nurture, there is an incredible the amount of sophistication that exudes from the album. Though Holy Wave’s efforts may not be birthing a new revolutionary genre of music, they are upholding the legacy of Austin’s psychedelic roots while furthering the spectrum of it’s sound. A chorus of cicadas ends the album, a tip of the hat to their Texan roots, and a nod to the cyclical nature of the music that they play.

Official music video from the forthcoming HOLY WAVE LP, , via The Reverberation Appreciation Society, available for purchase here: http://levitation-austin.com/store/rv…

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