Two percussionists? Bring it on, the more the merrier.
Two offset six-string electric guitars? I love it and I want to hear more.
A keyboard player that doubles down on bass guitar? From the Rural Alberta Advantage to Helsinki’s alternative music scene, I can listen all day and not tire.
This is The Holy, a tightly knit five-piece band from Finland that has built a reputation for themselves within the European live circuit. Starting in the live clubs in their home base of Helsinki, The Holy have stretched their sound out on the road with appearances at all the major Finnish festivals; Flow Festival, Ruisrock, Provinssirock, Ilosaarirock, as well as touring across Europe in Sweden, Germany, UK, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Austria. They have also been showcased at Eurosonic 2019, Iceland Airwaves 2019, Reeperbahn Festival, Where Is The Music, JaJaJa London, Berlin & Vienna, as well as Finland’s own Lost In Music.
The German/French TV channel Arte filmed the band’s performance at Flow Festival 2019 in cooperation with Finland’s YLE, and Seattle based KEXP filmed their show at Iceland Airwaves, which on the station’s popular YouTube channel for your viewing and listening pleasure.
Apparently, a lot of people really like this band, The Holy. So what do I think? Do I like their music? Fasten your seatbelt, this is going to be a quick review of their sophomore album, Mono Free.
Yes, I like it. I could end the review right here with that statement but, as far as music reviews go that would be pretty lame, so I will expand a bit on why I like the music of The Holy.
Expansive. Yeah, their music is expansive. It covers a wide range, the music fills the empty spaces with an ever moving and evolving sound, unrestrained and free. Their use of two percussionists and two electric guitars add to this feeling of wide open wildness, they are able to fill the sound without making it feel crowded. It would be all too easy for the drummers to play over each other, and the guitars as well, but they don’t. The Holy use the extra sound to create an expansive and wide-open soundscape the moves easily from one space to another, from one song to another. Adding to the fullness of this album are some very talented people that The Holy collaborated with. Eetu Henrik Iivari: “Jarno Takkumäki (Lac Belot) did the mixing and some of the recording and he was also the spiritual guide for the whole band during the process. Our frequent collaborator Elias Riipinen wrote and played amazing string arrangements and Antti Hevosmaa (Virta) pulled off some great trumpets. Jazz pianist Eetu Palomäki contributed to a few songs with some lush tracks and Tero Ahonen brought the big visual side of the record to life.
Expansive and intelligent. The intelligence is not confined to the lyrical content, they are smart at creating intelligent music. The lyrics of this album were inspired by Eetu’s reading of the book The World Without Us by Alan Weisman and while this could have easily created a dark and dystopian album, it didn’t. Eatu again: “But even though the theme is not the lightest in the world, I wanted the album to mirror hope and to be empowering. A friend for people having similar thoughts. The new album Mono Freedom is a utopian theme album. A fictional story about Mother Nature taking over the earth and how the last humans on earth pack their stuff, build a rocket and head over to the nearest black hole. They know that there is probably nothing out there, but it’s one of humanity’s last ideas. All this is seen as a positive, not as a dark dystopian vision, as is usually the case. The record and the lyrical themes are inspired by Alan Weisman’s book The World Without Us, a classic science book that explores a bunch of scenarios of what would happen to Mother Earth if humans were to disappear today. ”
Expansive, intelligent, and listenable. I have listened to some music over the years that had intelligent lyrics but didn’t have the music to move it forward. I have also listened to expansive music that didn’t go anywhere because it wasn’t easy to listen to. Mono Freedom is listenable as well as being intelligent and expansive. It hits a lot of the right notes and that is alright in my books and on my listening device. Please excuse me while I go and listen to this album one more time.
The singles No Trial In The Dark and Twilight Of The Idiots are available for streaming on your favourite platform, including iTunes, the album Mono Freedom will be released on April 17th.
The Holy are:
Eetu Henrik Iivari – Vocals, Guitar
Pyry Peltonen – Guitar
Laura Kangasniemi – Bass
Mikko Maijala – Drums
Eero Jääskeläinen – Drums
Music video links:
The Holy – Land Before Time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yy8Xk-q9rcQ
The Holy – Ramses The Evil Brother https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Et7ds0srgpA
Live video links:
KEXP Live @ Iceland Airwaves https://youtu.be/BZRgLhcargQ
ARTE Concert, Live @ Flow Festival https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3futr2QC1E
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