Holy Fiction, Hours From It

Holy Fiction, Hours From It

Wow. It’s always a funny thing when you’ve heard a band before, liked the bits and pieces you’ve run across, and been curious to hear more, and then when you finally do get a glimpse of the full picture, as it were, you realize that you’d previously had no freaking idea what they were really about. And then you feel like an idiot for not paying attention sooner.

That’s kind of how I’m feeling right now about Holy Fiction, after listening repeatedly to their brand-new full-length, Hours From It. I’d heard a song or two, liked ’em well enough, hoped to see ’em live some day, and then, when I put the CD on, was immediately floored. It’s taken a while, but the overarching awe at what they’ve created is steadily beating back the creeping shame and slap-the-forehead annoyance I’m feeling towards myself.

Because these folks — a star-studded bunch, alumni of bands like Ethan Durelle and Hemyah that intrigued me but never really caught my ear in a major way — have crafted something really, truly wonderful here. I already can’t imagine not including this in my 2010 best-of list, and since I generally try to remain a bit aloof and see how these things wear on me throughout the year, that’s saying something.

First and foremost, there’s an awesome serene feel to the whole thing, a thoughtful, relaxed vibe that brings to mind Mark Kozelek’s Sun Kil Moon project (the languidly pastoral debut album, at least). The impression’s deepened by frontman/guitarist Evan Lecker’s voice, which is a gorgeously warm, impassioned baritone akin to to Kozelek’s; when he’s at his best, as on “More Than Ever,” Lecker can truly belt it out, with a voice that’s warmly confident yet has a nice, vulnerable quaver to it, like a confused-yet-defiant man alone and howling out his soul alone on a cliff somewhere.

The thing I’m reminded of the most, though, when listening to Hours From It, is Peter Gabriel’s sweeter, less out-and-out silly/strange moments. There’s a serious resemblance/influence, at least to my ears, to the Afropop-tinged sound of Gabriel’s classic So — there are a few points of various songs where I’m half-tempted to start singing the words to “Red Rain” and figure they’d work quite nicely. I mean no slight by saying it, mind you; I find myself loving the gently urgent, somber feel of it all, with the up-front jangly guitars and desperate, instrument-like vocals.

“Iron Eyes” sets the tone quite nicely, starting off distantly and delicately folky but shifting quickly to a more World Music-sounding rhythm with a subtly funky, melodic bassline, violin, and understated hand percussion, melding the two genres seamlessly. “Exit” rides the line between Sun Kil Moon and Jeremy Enigk’s solo stuff, driving and bright (it’s probably the most “energetic” song on here, all things considered), and “Golden City Lights” slows things down but keeps the folky, poignant country thing going.

“Song Ten” is practically folk-soul, with delicately beautiful strings and shaker underlying that wonderful voice, and “Two Small Bodies” drifts along until the crescendo comes crashing in with military-style drums and Arcade Fire-esque atmospherics. Title track “Hours From It” steps away from the rest of the album somewhat, beginning with murky, nearly baroque instrumentation and radio-static-y vocals before switching halfway to a bit of a faster tempo and a strutting, grim-sounding groove.

The album closes with “Yes They Were Here,” again with the far-off, somewhat distorted vocals, but here they still sound as incredible as they did early on. The song revs up steadily ’til the very end, building and building like something by The Gloria Record before dropping back to a much more minimal, electronics-tinged Afrobeat denouement.

I’m envious of people like Holy Fiction who can write songs like these, I’ll admit it, because the songs they come up with feel like honest-to-God compositions, like real-live symphonies, crafted using guitars, drums, and the occasional violin rather than an orchestra. It’s intricate, stunningly beautiful, and infectious as hell.

[Holy Fiction is playing its CD release party 2/20/10 at Warehouse Live, along with The Wonderful Future, The 71's, & They Were Stars.]
(self-released; Holy Fiction -- http://www.myspace.com/holyfiction)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Saturday, February 20th, 2010. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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3 Responses to “Holy Fiction, Hours From It

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 2: The Sour Notes + The Energy + The Manichean + IFest + Holy Fiction + May Day + More on April 30th, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    […] band The Sour Notes at 3PM. I really love the former, especially their debut from last year, Hours From It, and with the latest release by the latter, brand-new full-length Last Looks (more on that in a […]

  2. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: Holy Fiction (Reviewed!) + Sara Van Buskirk + Squishees + Rivers + Eric Dick + More on July 29th, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    […] make you want to smack yourself in the face for thinking you can write songs. Last year’s Hours From It was a stunning debut, and earlier this year they followed it up with a reworking of the whole damn […]

  3. SPACE CITY ROCK » For The Kids: Holy Fiction Plays with the Dulles Middle School Symphony Orchestra, Next Month on January 26th, 2012 at 11:23 am

    […] I admire the heck out of (seriously, check out 2010′s jaw-droppingly gorgeous, impassioned Hours From It), will be performing a one-time-only show with the Dulles Middle School Symphony Orchestra down in […]

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