Our ATP recommendation. Surely recommendations don’t come higher?
The Holloys: Arts Wars
Four years ago, and at our first ATP, we bowled up to the back of the outdated ballroom in the bizarre setting of Butlins in Camber Sands and were blown away by an opening act that displayed power, precision and stylistic nouse these ears hadn’t heard in quite some time.
We chinked glasses of frosty beverages in appreciation of what was to be a great weekend ahead as The Mars Volta proved fine hosts selecting, then little-known NYC hipsters Battles as the opening band of the weekend.
This May history seemed to repeat itself as a quintet of multiferous magnificence ripped up the Centre Stage setting of ATP’s Minehead base camp as our delighted gang bore witness to an altogether different beast to Battles, but one of equally thrilling endeavours.
As we clattered pint pots, festival newboy Phil delved deep into his pockets for his Friday schedule to reveal their name: The Holloys.
Spacerock, disco-high-hat-led post-punk, duel drummers, supercool funk and instant pop were all in evidence, as well as a heavy dose of R&R.
Later that weekend a superhyped conversation revealed how The Holloys action man Jim Brown revealed how he was not only more excited than us by their reception in the You Kay, but how he intended to shoehorn The Holloys into some kind of takeover tour crowbaring into Deerhunter and whoever the hell else would welcome them. They all would.
For, unlike these shores, this is a band well known within the Stateside circles that count. You’ve former Mars Volta beast-drummer Jon Theadore a former member, ex-Rapture dudes have embraced their cause and the aforementioned Battles are big buds.
Essential their Brown’s group of rockin rollers waiting to take off.
But hold up. None of this matters a sack of shit where it not for what got us hanging round the merch stall for two and half days waiting for them to re-stock their sold out CD (we had to blag Jim to sell us one rather than give one to the queue of Brit A&R guys eager for a piece of the action. Rough Trade had sneaked in before us).
The results on record are somewhat tempered to their outrock explosion; Art Wars is for the most part an experiment of controlled new-wave pop – something which is both celebratory but somewhat supresses their want to WAAAAA!
Only the nine-minute dub bass-fuzz roll of the brass-tootlin’ Disco displays where this band – sonically – can really venture. But what’s worth ultimately bearing in mind, is that Art Wars is the beginning of the lesson.
So what we’re treated to is succinct, crafted to perfection pop songs, the likes of which fans of Foals, Battles and even Vampire Weekend will lap up.
The latter is an odd choice but there’s no denying the infectious comparisons between their Afro-rhythms and Heart Mission as Beam, seemingly futile in tone, laments: ‘Don’t trust your neighbours, or the media, or the Wiki…pedia!‘ It’s Pop Song 89, all over again gone postmodern.
JT’s Lament is similarly fractious yet infectious; a beat to bob to – all bass funk and Beam-ing calls to sing in unison, bettered only by opener Lake Land, a kind of Stones meets Sly psyche-rock roller set free on a jetstream of abandon which outrocks for three of its four minutes.
Similarly to when we first clapped eyes on Battles, there’s uber-reasons to be excited by The Holloys, but to overstate the obvious would be unnecessary. Just dig.
For fans of: Late night hip-shaking, hammocks, water slides.
The Holloys: Heart Mission (live)