I’ve been craving some new shoegaze sounds which my good friends over at the label Up In Her Room were only too happy to help me out with.
They are releasing the debut album from London based three-piece, Holy Springs. Consisting of Neil Atkinson Jr, Maria Bellucci and Suzanne Sims the band have released a teaser single already this year which I heard courtesy of my DKFM sistah Amber Crain on her When The Sun Hits show back in February. ‘E.A.T’ is the title track from the album and it stopped me dead in my tracks. It also kicks off the album, so let’s dive in.
‘E.A.T’ has a really propulsive backbeat driving those glorious guitars. I love how massive and deep these relatively simple chords sound. It shows massive restraint and a confidence that what they are playing is enough. Something that a lot of bands fall down at. It’s a great start and bodes well for the rest of the album.
There’s a really ominous bass intro to ‘What I’m Supposed to Do’ next. This soon blossoms into the riff led refrain that peppers this track. The half sung half spoken delivery of the vocals adds to the dark and looming atmosphere of the song. For three people they create such a big sound you’d think they were a five piece.
‘Surprise’ comes in slow and steady with interlacing and complimentary guitar riffs which provide the perfect foil to the hushed vocal delivery. What is becoming apparent is this band have hooks for days. You can’t help but nod along or tap your foot to a track like this.
We venture into the sonic landscape of ‘Optimistic’ next. A sound experiment which captures that sound of a stuck needle on a record and turns it into a luscious listen.
‘Believe It’ has a garage rock swagger about it. You can close your eyes and smell the cigarette smoke and black leather jackets. It oozes cool and wouldn’t be out of place in a dingy New York club in the sixties.
Things lighten up considerably for ‘I Can’t Wait’. The reverse guitar is sparkly, like sunlight on a rippling stream. I love how it starts to feedback in a loop with itself creating this gloriously psychedelic effect. My only complaint is it only lasts two minutes. I wanted much more of this track.
‘Fold’ is the bands second tone poem of the album. This time a more monotone affair making me think of the intro to the Boo Radleys Giant Steps album. I can’t think of a higher compliment than that.
Next up is my album highlight; ‘Listen’. Once again, the band keep it simple and really make the most of the chords they’re using. The drums make this song for me, lifting those instrumental passages and settling back to hold the song together before dropping out completely. Man, when they come back in! Goosebumps!
‘I Want You’ utilises a drone effect which rather than bringing to mind a latter-day psych outfit takes me back to the early 2000’s. This track has the same kinda vibe in places as Joy Zipper and would easily fit in on their American Whip album. Tune into the bass guitar and you are in for a treat. Lovely, melodic walking bass adding a lightness to the dark moodiness of the song.
Switching back to the guitar leading the melody on ‘All The Time’ is a neat trick to keep us on our toes. The organ providing the more moody and atmospheric tones which only enhances the vocal delivery. It’s a really even paced and calm track and I can imagine chilling out to this track after a night out.
For our final instrumental of the album ‘Drift’ is a stuttering yet graceful piece. The angelic swoosh of the organ contrasting with the punishing and relentless guitar pulsing arrhythmically. It certainly catches your ear.
The album closes on ‘If I Had A Reason’. I wasn’t ready for this at all. Gospel tones that Jason Pierce would kill for coupled with an assured and, frankly, cool as fuck vocal delivery make this the perfect way to round out this perfect album.
Debut albums can sometimes feel a bit disparate as bands fling all the songs they’ve been working on together with no real thought as to how they all hang together as an album. Not so with E.A.T. The effort and thought that has gone into writing a cohesive and well-structured album is evident on every note played. I particularly enjoyed the instrumental interludes which play a pivotal role in neatly segueing between tracks. If this is the band just starting out imagine what their next album will sound like, and the one after that. I hope Holy Springs are ready, because this album is about to blow up.
E.A.T. will be available from this Friday, 7th October, from the Up In Her Room Bandcamp page. I predict this one will sell out in record time so set your alarm for 9am GMT so you don’t miss out.
You can follow Holy Springs on social media here …