Album Review

Holy Monitor – Southern Lights: Album Review

Athens psych-rockers Holy Monitor are a quintet whose sound incorporates elements of krautrock, space-rock and ambient music. Their LP Southern Lights is the follow up to their 2020 critically acclaimed EP release, This Desert Land. 

Release date: 26th February 2021

Label: Blackspin

Format: Red/White Swirl Vinyl (LP), Digital

Despite the promise of ambient sounds the opener  has a weighty incessant   riff interspersed with  chanted vocals dripping in reverberation creating a cinematic aura .

The maniacal cavorting in Naked In The Rain is meant to represent a“Bacchic ritual to the sun symbolizes the human need to rebirth, the ecstatic loss of self, a provocative critique of conformity.”  

A lighter mood is developed in Blue Whale, with twanging guitar and echoing vocals reminiscent of  Stone Roses, is a track earmarked for a single release.  The title track Southern Lights follows a similar tone although with a heavier more simplistic riff throughout, which descends into a crashing dynamic end.

The heavy and lighter shades of HM  combine on The Sky Is Falling Down. This longer epic thrashes and twists into a whirlpool of manic dread rising to a throbbing climax and plummets to a more fuzzy soothing end. 

An ethereal and dreamy landscape can be pictured in Hourglass, providing brief respite with some somnolent soothing sonic effects. An aquatic theme completes this short 40-minute album with Ocean Trail and Under the Sea, which has wistful lyrics and a musically meditative conclusion.

The Greek-based band Holy Monitor is comprised of guitarist Stefanos Mitsis, singer/guitarist George Nikas, keyboardist Vangelis Mitsis, bassist Alex Bolpasis and drummer Dimitris Doumouliakas. 

Holy Monitor’s simplistic approach to progressive rock is refreshingly entertaining and their desire not to overcomplicate their vibrant instrumental composing and lucid lyrics is a real bonus.

Holy Monitor online:   Bandcamp / Facebook / Instagram / Spotify / Soundcloud

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