Debut LPs this good don’t come around too often; original yet familiar, this is expansive rock at its thrilling summit
A guitar ripples and a simple drumbeat kicks in before Timothy Carroll’s crisp vocals take flight. “This darkness is nothing but a lack of light,” he declares – a strangely comforting thought. The song is Sentimental And Monday, the opening track from HOLY HOLY’s debut album and it is the perfect introduction to When The Storms Would Come; a musical tour de force from start to finish.
This is sonic rock which pays tribute to its forefathers yet manages to forge its own star-lined path. There are glimpses of influences, A Heroine sounds like an adrenaline-charged Fleet Foxes and the loose groove of Crazy Horse can be heard on Pretty Strays For Hopeless Lovers, however there is always something added to the familiar mixture, such as the ghostly backing vocals on the latter.
As well as Carroll’s singing voice, with its pastoral lilt, guitarist Oscar Dawson is the real show-stealer. Finding a middle ground between Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin he peppers every track with intricate licks or crunching riffs. History comes alive with each tiny explosion from his guitar and he unleashes his full fury on You Cannot Call For Love Like A Dog. Even on the album’s subtler songs like The Crowd he is able to add atmosphere and emotion.
When The Storms Would Come sounds like a career-defining set from an established act rather than an opening statement. As debut albums go, these talented Australians have created something truly astonishing.
Verdict: A hugely impressive debut