Hours From It
Nile Music, 2010
REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/09/2010
Holy Fiction is not quite yet a band that can be compared to the likes of Fleet Foxes. But the band’s debut, Hours From It, is meritorious enough for it to be even considered among the finest indie folk collectives of our time.
Instead of the rustic sound that defines modern indie folk, Hours From It retains a clean and crisp acoustic sound with a modern appeal, which is completely different from the folk music from as recent as the previous decade. The lineup of musical instruments used on this record peculiarly includes the keyboards. There is a penumbra about the usage of the keyboards, which rest so cozily in the background that they are hardly noticed, while they lift up the dominating guitars and violins without disturbing the purity of the music.
This is an album of phenomenal cuts cohabiting with plain, mediocre ones that are redeemed at least partially by the band’s musical style and remarkable vocals. If only all the material here was like the beginning tracks, “Iron Eyes” and “Exit,” and the closing one, “Yes They Were Here,” or if the rest of the album were not so spiritless, the result would have been on a different plane altogether.
The three key tracks have a bounty of zeal and fervor. These are in no way sell-out pop songs. Granted, these are the most instantly likeable songs on the record. But there is nothing special about the dullness of the rest of the album either. Even after the album achieves familiarity, the rest of the record does not unravel or transmogrify into something better. By the same token, “Iron Eyes,” “Exit,” and “They Were Here” sound magical as ever after any number of listens. In fact, the album is well worth these three cuts alone.
An unexceptional song by an unexceptional band and the same by a truly exceptional band like Holy Fiction have a difference that is as contrasting as day and night. The less significant moments of the album might be riddled with a paucity of spirit, but these are songs that are still well-composed. Their dullness does not blunt the charm of the exquisite music that graces them – at least, not completely. And no matter what the track is, lead vocalist Evan Lecker sounds like a divine messenger with his heavenly humble voice; one just cannot be enamored enough of him.
Despite how much one might like Hours From It, anyone who discovers Holy Fiction will, without doubt, fall in love with this band in a heartbeat.