Pain and music have always had an inspiring relationship. It’s an emotion, and its provocative. It’s something we struggle to come to terms with, and that’s probably why music draws so much power from it. In the same way love fills music, pain too has its own place. It’s one thing however to sing about pain, it’s another to embody it. The deathly cries of Kurt Cobain in Nirvana’s MTV unplugged gig are a great example of when music can reach something that words just can’t. He didn’t have to tell you how fucked up he was, you could hear it.
Holy Esque probably aren’t about to follow Cobain’s footsteps, at least we hope not, but there’s something about these primality of lead Patt Hynes’ vocals that reach a similar visceral intensity. They aren’t a grunge band, in fact if anything they fit into that murky category of ‘post punk’ that bands are so readily plonked. Which, as an aside, is a term which essentially just signifies that people haven’t quite decided what the hell to call it yet. Nevertheless it’s easy to see why people might have dubbed it as such, powerful riffs and growling overdrive dominates the tracks, but yet there’s still a new polish and synth that keeps everything feeling fresh.
The quartet hail from Glasgow and released their debut EP Holy Esque EP about 9 months ago. In fact the EP, was so good one might even argue they’ve set the bar rather too high for themselves. From the driving percussion, and panicked lyricism of Rose to the epic guitars of Ladybird Love, it really was a marvel. Any such cynical thinking though would be foolish in light of their more recent release Tear. The almost painfully raw vocals once again provided in full force, but this time amidst a polished backdrop of a classic guitar line right at home in the alternative scene of a decade ago. Perhaps its not the best direct musical comparison, but Holy Esque feel like The Walkmen, but have that same cryptic, tribal aura of Manchester’s Wu Lyf. Not to mention very similar eery, rasping vocals howls. Much like both those bands, with Holy Esque it’s the power of the tracks thats so alluring, not the intricacies. And that’s music at its most provocative.
Having not released anything for 6 months now, it seems like Holy Esque may just be one of the most underrated acts of 2012. Here’s to 2013 bringing them the success they deserve. This is music to empower and inspire, but hopefully not shoot yourself.