So, I haven’t done a New Music in awhile. Let’s change that!
Today’s band Holy Esque comes from across the pond in Glasgow with their debut self-titled EP. At four songs long, the EP feels more like an extended demonstration than a full statement, but it’s still enough to leave more than a good impression. Holy Esque skillfully maintains a delicate balance: their music has enough muscle that it plays out to the rafters (not to mention begs to be played loud), but still possesses a deft and lightness about it to keep it fresh.
It’s a successful technique that’s not just the right blend of distortion and reverb, but solid hooks as well. Such is especially the case with lead single “Rose”, with it’s buzzsaw-grind yet catchy hook. Producer Kevin Burleigh’s worked with fellow Scots Glasvegas, and he helps Holy Esque harness that same arena-ready sound. At the same time, “Rose” and “Ladybird Love” succeed from always moving musically, as well as using a strong sense of dynamics.
However, while plenty of bands get stiff when they play out, things stay pretty fluid on Holy Esque. On the instrumental front, drummer Ralph McClure, who drums like a young Jimmy Chamberlin, is the group’s secret weapon; his drumming is athletic and busy but never intrusive. Without a bass player (the band has Keir Reid on keyboards with Hugo McGinley and singer Pat Hynes on guitars), McClure provides a fast moving low end for the textured keyboards and guitars, especially so on “Prophet of Privilege”.
The odd track out is “Loneliest Loneliness”. Where the other three songs built upward, “Loneliest Loneliness” spreads outward with atmospheric effects, crunchy guitars that echo in every direction, and minimal drumming. And while the music on Holy Esque is always pretty, the second half of “Loneliest Loneliness” is one of the better My Bloody Valentine-inspired numbers I’ve heard in awhile. There’s technically a guitar solo, but it blends so well with the backing guitar and keyboard sounds that it’s more atmospheric than anything else.
What truly makes Holy Esque stand out is Pat Hynes’ unique vocals. His gruff vocals come from the throat and heart, and reflect the same muscle and deftness of the band he’s part of. He sings and roars with utter conviction, but he never comes across as abrasive. The first point of comparison that comes to mind is Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus fame, but Hynes has plenty more technicality and control. If the articulation gets lost sometimes, let it happen, because Hynes will have your attention either way.
They’ve been building buzz online for the past year, and with the release of their EP, things are only looking up for Holy Esque. Holy Esque is in the (especially these days) rare position where no one else can say that they’re doing exactly what they’re doing, or as well. Their already getting some exposure, and it’s only going to increase. Keep one eye on this band, both you and them deserve it.