Have we had Holopaw wrong all these years? The Gainesville, Fla.-based band's first two albums were lumped in with the indie Americana crowd, thanks as much to their rustic instrumentations as to singer John Orth's 2002 collaboration with Isaac Brock. But a few years and a label change later, now they seem a band apart, loners entrenched in no particular scene but their own. Even the recognizable elements on their third album, Oh, Glory.
Soft-spoken indie band rocks out on excellent third album On their first two albums, Holopaw ruffled hushed folk with synths and loops. Nestled in almost-sterile arrangements, John Orth’s flutey voice defined fragility, as circular arpeggios turned like quiet screws. Their new album, thankfully, still sounds like Holopaw. It’s just that now, Orth’s voice is often buffeted by bright bursting chords, and leads glinting with pretty little errors.
Holopaw's third album marks a turning point for the Florida-based band, encompassing a label change, a drastic personnel shift, and a significant stylistic evolution. After two albums for Sub Pop, they've switched to an imprint closer to home, settling at the Sunshine State's Bakery Outlet Records. Only singer John Orth and guitarist Jeff Hays remain from the lineup that recorded 2005's Quit +/or Fight, and they've built up a new Holopaw around them, expanding their sound in the process.
It’s been four years since the last Holopaw record, and a lot has changed for these guys, apparently all for the better. For one, they’ve shifted from indie giant Sub Pop to the smaller Bakery Outlet label, essentially setting out on their own for Oh, Glory. Oh, Wilderness.. Just that shift in labels alone is a smart move for Holopaw, since over at Sub Pop, with their soft, shuffling sound, they came across like the underachieving younger brothers to the likes of Beachwood Sparks and Fruit Bats.