Release Date: Mar 11, 2016
Record label: Reverberation Appreciation Society
On their second album, Freaks of Nurture, the Texas quintet Holy Wave steer their way through the psychedelic waves with a steady hand and a suitably foggy mindset. Filling their pleasantly hooky tunes with layers of fuzzy guitars, reverb-soaked guitars, organ swells, hypnotic bass throb, and very laid-back vocals, the album is a slight improvement on their previous work and ranks with the strongest work of their tripped-out contemporaries. Mixing long, droning songs that ebb and flow like the best psych-y dream pop with shorter, more focused tunes that bring to mind paisley underground heroes the Rain Parade, the record never settles into the kind of dazed autopilot one might expect from a group so relaxed.
Even though we were taught by our mothers to never judge a book by its cover, it’s pretty easy to guess Holy Wave’s shtick before the needle hits. Hailing from Austin, this raggle taggle five piece deal in psych, but a more languid, harmonious way. Low key and heavily reverbed throughout, their third album Freaks of Nurture is an intimate piece of pastoral psychedelia which replaces oddball freak-outs with gorgeous melody.
Holy Wave’s third full-length, Freaks of Nature opens with a little nod to the Beatles, but the rest of the album spends much of the time tracing a route between old England and the US West Coast. It’s a trippy album, not just in its travels, but also in its psych influences. While the band still drops its anchor in reverb-covered territory, the pleasure here comes from the hooks.
On Freaks of Nurture, Holy Wave evolves from garage jangle to guitar surges. Voluminous pedals border on shoegaze, the El Paso-to-Austin quintet's fourth album floating atop a rhythmic haze that serves as the medium. Unfolding dream "California Took My Bobby Away" contrasts seamlessly with the breathless dash of "You Should Lie," and a brooding oddness to "Magic Landing" opposes the pop build of "Sir Isaac Nukem." "She Put a Seed in My Ear" and "Air Wolf" come dosed by acid pop.
Holy Wave — Freaks of Nurture (Reverberation Appreciation Society/Burger)Psychedelia has always seemed, to me, to combine light and darkness – the airy gauze of spectral singing rises over a murky churn of guitars, the clarity of long-held pure tones presses against the ambiguity of shadowy overtones. It’s the balance, in varying proportions, of thudding physicality and spiritual yearning: a light through the prison keyhole, say, the shadows just inside the sunlit forest, or the colored lights behind closed eyelids. Holy Wave, a psychedelic band out of Austin, works very definitely on the sunny end of this spectrum, spinning out lazy loping guitar riffs over gleaming textures of keyboards.