HOLOGRAMS (Captured Tracks)
Holograms are four pissed off young men from Sweden deeply rooted in the sounds of Wire and Joy Division. Yet beneath this predictable post-punk formula is a very authentic desperation and overall sense of entrapment perhaps attributable to the band working long hours in a warehouse outside their hometown of Stockholm to fund the project.
This foreboding shadow of industry instantly hits you with Monolith, a track which steadily progresses from a sparse guitar dirge into the harrowing lyrics of principal vocalist Filip Stradberg, who snarls ; “standing in line … see you fall on concrete floors … people, places’, over instrumentation that clashes and clangs together in discordant harmony like the tortured grinding of metal on metal. Memories of Sweat andABC City – two of the record’s highlights – really develop this theme with vivid detail, painting further images of the faceless masses soaked in anger and frustration played out in short and catchy punk gems.
Yet despite loud, thrashing punk being the obvious tool to vent this angst, there are colourful flourishes of instrumentation that neatly counterbalance the coarse guitar lines underneath. Orpheo and Transform are both accompanied by swirling synth arrangements, with Feverperhaps being the most blatant example of this technique, with a surprising half-time breakdown towards the end gradually harmonising into an outro that nearly pierces through the thick industrial smog.
While it would be wrong to listen to this record like some audio accompaniment to a Marxist textbook, their backstory really sets Holograms apart from other punk bands, who willingly adopt the aggressive chord structures and vocal drawls without any honest justification as to the angst they project. This debut record is an uncompromising and honest example of what it’s like to be a young band struggling for recognition and freedom, and Holograms do it with a backs against the wall, fuck you mentality which is utterly absorbing.
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Words: Alex Hall