Holograms – Holograms
August 7, 2012
Posted by on
Along with the upcoming album by TOY, Holograms has been one of my most anticipated albums of the year in the post punk genre. Like most European punk bands you have to wonder how they manage to have such impeccable English, although there are some weird phrases from this Swedish group I’m sure you could regard such errors as Scandinavian lyrical genius. In the mould of most punk bands (and I’m sure the long winter days also have something to do with it), Holograms is an album that couldn’t really be described as uplifting. Quite frankly they just seem to take the piss out of Sweden – a sport not so unfamiliar to Australians in the wake of the Julian Assange fracas. On first instance you could categorise this album as one of those cliché post punk bands with a digitally processed, album cover that harks at nostalgia by attempting to recreate the silver halide of film. This was a mistake on my part, Holograms, manages to capture some of that nostalgia and add to it a modern perspective in light of the societal problems facing contemporary Sweden.
The strongest element of Holograms is definitely the bass line which gives the album a great sense of urgency. This is evident in the first track Monolith which is just one of those songs where you can already imagine the lighting tech laughing maniacally as they have a field day with the strobes. The bass beat is ever present as the album edges towards the climatic You Are Ancient (Sweden’s Pride) which at first seems like a celebration of right wing nationalism. So it’s understandable that superficially this song could be misunderstood as a jingoistic anthem much like Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA. However Holograms frequently lament at some of Sweden’s darker history such as Lutheran fear mongering and the general antics of the bunch of scallywags known as Vikings. Once again some pretty typical punk stuff, angst and all.
However what makes Holograms atypical is the way in which they manage to meld so many contrary elements whether it be the seemingly formulaic bass rhythms and drum beats characteristic of punk, the quirky New Wave synth that peppers most of the songs with melodic hooks, or the ironic lyrics which actually have quite a lot of thought put into them. Honestly its hard to imagine how a punk band with catchy uplifting melodies that canvass Sweden’s shameful past, could possible work – but it does. This is album is definitely a grower, and I think maybe it will be one of the top releases of the year. It’s a solid debut album and bodes well the future of a band who can hopefully now leave menial labour in Stockholm ‘s warehouses behind.
Highlight Tracks: Chasing My Mind, ABC City, Stress
Similar Music: The Horrors (excluding third album), TOY, ICEAGE