Punk gets its rocks off on the fact that most of its musicians are poorly trained, if at all, and have little sense of well-being while banging away at low quality instruments they probably bought secondhand from a pawn shop that may or may not deal in human trafficking when the lights are out. Such is almost certainly the case with Holograms, the Stockholm-based quartet who seek to reconcile the resentment of postmodernism with the emotional, melodic sensitivities of punk in a post-White Stripes world.
The band’s self-titled debut album, Holograms, plays out with all this as a backdrop. Slightly more musical than, say, Johnny Ramone and incredibly more in-tune than, for instance, the Sex Pistols, Holograms works to its strengths: apathetic aggression, raw power and a teeming backbeat that harks back to the golden age of punk while retaining the “indie” that allows for a synthesizer providing much of the harmonic nuance on the record.
The opener, a suite-like group of sections entitled “Monolith,” careens for four-and-a-half minutes, with guitarist/vocalist Anton Spetze teetering close to an edge from which he never quite topples. “Orpheo” starts with a riff reminiscent of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “By the Way” before spiraling into a classic punk destroyer, and “Transform” has all the elements of a weird Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd track. “Fever” features an affectionate moment of slowing down, allowing the band, in one of many instances, to stretch itself beyond the barging rhythms of simplistic punk.
At its heart, Holograms is a shining example of twenty-first century indie punk. There is a lot of shouting and a lot of words that the listener may not understand, but the message is clear: Holograms is here, they are angry and they want you to be angry with them. In the grand scheme of lo-fi noise emitting from your stereo, what more could you ask from a band?
Tags: 2012, album, album review, holograms, Holograms - Holograms review, Reviews, rory masterson