ARTIST: HOLDING ABSENCE
TITLE: HOLDING ABSENCE
LABEL: SHARPTONE RECORDS
WORDS: JACK MOBLEY
A debut album can be daunting for any band especially when there is excitement around said release. Many questions can arise that the band have to answer; can it live up to hype? Will the pressure be too much? Do the band fully express themselves? Welsh quintet, Holding Absence have answered these queries in emphatic fashion with their self-titled debut, releasing a record that has dark and sombre tone with an anthemic feel that is draped in issues of love, lost and regret. A sound that has energised post-hardcore at it’s nucleus but in the hands of a band who knows when to reel in the intensity that allow for enormous alternative rock moments to burst into motion, while intimate segments are laced in and around the record. This album is a statement of intent for anyone is not on board with this exciting, young British band.
Each member has their chance to shine throughout the album, although Lucas Woodland does take front and centre on a lot of the tracks. His voice carries the listener through the emotions, the highs and lows drawing you in during the quiet moments and blowing away with his pipes! Add in a bass guitar that grounds the album when the guitar sounds explore the ether, and thumping drums that can kick it into overdrive when needs be, then you have Holding Absence.
“record that has dark and sombre tone with an anthemic feel that is draped in issues of love, lost and regret.”
Opening with ‘Perish’, the tone is set with spacey and airy tones swirling before the opening sombre guitar slowly opens the door to the record that suddenly bursts wide open. Woodland opens up his vocal cords especially in the chorus with the breakdown-like intensity that comes across through the Architects/Sam Cater-inspired vocal style which does work extremely well. The soaring choruses are spectacular at times on ‘Like a Shadow’, for example, the line, “Stay a little longer” invokes imagery in the live environment and thousands shouting back.
Emotional ballad, ‘Marigold’, feels like it should be performed in a cathedral due it’s soaring and beautiful nature but before long ‘To Fall Asleep’ picks the energy up with thudding percussion and the Sam Cater-esque vocal crashes in once again. ‘Monochrome’ is the best song that the band have recorded with Woodland’s lyrics and vocal coming to the forefront with his shirt-tugging chorus ‘If I failed you, then you’re better off alone’.
The production does a lot to cover for what seems dwindling ideas when in comes to the latter part of the album with the reverb being cranked to 11. At some points it helps the overall aesthetic but the effect wears off after the midway point of this near 50 minute record. The songwriting does become slightly repetitive with predictable sections tracks, ‘A Godsend’ and ‘Last of the Evening Light’. An injection of new ideas from all members could’ve lifted the tail-end, especially when the final two tracks ‘Purge’ and ‘Wilt’ is attempting for the ‘epic’ but falls flat to nothing more than a slow and repetitive slog.
“Holding Absence have seized the opportunity and are backing up their own hype with songs that are emotional at their core and spot on in their delivery”
This record has given the world a taste of what could be for this band, the potential is huge and they could go in many different directions. To release an album with relatively little experience, this album album oozes a level of maturity that really takes their sound a notch above their peers. Each member has their moments all the while be lifted by Woodland’s fascinating lyrics and incredible voice. The issues are small and fixable, a rawer sound would benefit the music massively.
Holding Absence have seized the opportunity and are backing up their own hype with songs that are emotional at their core and spot on in their delivery. Once this album has has time to stew and settle then the band will be armed with an arsenal of knowledge and experience to take into the next stage of their career and that is nothing but exciting.