Release Date: Jul 10, 2012
Record label: Captured Tracks
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Stockholm-based quartet Holograms carry all the signifiers of Just Another Punk Band – the ‘head so hollow’ vocals, the chugging guitars, the factory floor boredom. But it’s well worth pulling all those threads apart. Enmeshed in their sound, underneath what appears to be simplicity, there are sinews of context and history to unravel. Listen hard and the power of influence combined with the band’s new flesh-fresh blood and pure emotion begins to reveal itself.
HologramsHolograms[Captured Tracks; 2012]By Colin Joyce; July 20, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetIn recent years, it’s Sweden’s pop music scene that has garnered the majority of the attention. Robyn has launched a full scale invasion with turns opening across the states for acts as massive as Coldplay and more independently minded acts like The Radio Dept. are releasing their best material to date.
Stockholm could be a real shit place to live. Daylight enthusiasts might love the summers — they get up to 18 hours there around that time — but in the winter, they’d be lucky to grab around six. It’s also not exactly a welcoming slogan when the National Board of Health and Welfare announces that suicide is the leading cause of death between ages 15 and 24, a statistic that’s actually increased with younger demographics.
Holograms first surfaced under a veil of anonymity. As soon as Captured Tracks heard a demo, the label signed them, released their first single, shared a video, and pretty much said "stay tuned." Then, because it's 2012 and that's how things are done now, the band revealed who they were: four twenty-somethings from Stockholm. Interviews with Holograms shared a common theme: "The band's members are all very poor right now." And thus far, their story's revolved around an unfortunate series of incidents: Their van got broken into on a support tour, they were stranded in France for almost two weeks with no money, they can't afford decent gear, and they're not sure if they'll be able to obtain work visas to tour the United States.
First, there was punk. Then, there was post-punk. Then, 30 years passed and there came a band called Holograms, ready to party like it’s 1978. Holograms are, indisputably, a post-punk band. That sounds like a statement of the obvious, since post-punk is one of the vaguest labels in use, but when ….
Sweden's Holograms play to the greyer elements of their Scandinavian surroundings on their self-titled debut, but also channel the industrial desolation of the early Factory Records sound and merge it with the experimental energy of 2010s garage punk. When the jagged drums and scrappy, driving bassline of opening track "Monolith" kick in, the band sounds so much like Joy Division it's almost criminal. The song draws on the influence of several icy Factory bands as it goes on, hinting at elements of Crispy Ambulance and Section 25 as well as the early post-punk energy of Warsaw-era Joy Division.
True to their name, Swedish quartet Holograms are a shape-shifting lot: what you see in them depends on the angle from which you look. Tilt your head one way and they come across as goth-punk malcontents, a murky blur of thrashed guitars, blunt drums and vocals barked with such vehemence that they're barely comprehensible. The lyrics that do leap out communicate a fury with dead-end existence that, in closing song You Are Ancient (Sweden's Pride), seems to find succour in rightwing nationalism.
Scandinavia proved its fertility as a breeding ground for icy, loogie-soaked post-punk last year with the breakthrough of those young hooligans in Iceage. That streak continues, via Sweden, thanks to Stockholm's Holograms, the next act in line to give us brash, virulent anthems to wreck and get wrecked to. Released by the always-reliable Captured Tracks, their self-titled debut LP packs a mighty wallop, matching a brutish, derisive attitude with whip-smart songwriting and compelling hooks.