HOLMES - Wolves

Holmes - Wolves

10 songs
49:53 minutes
***** **
Black Star Foundation


Sweden is well known for its flourishing indie pop scene, with bands ranging from the colourful quirky to the more sombre moods. The latter can be enjoyed to the fullest on Holmes’ newest longplayer Wolves, their first one on Black Star Foundation. Apart from the ecologically friendly cardboard packaging, it’s the better production values that first stick out. Holmes are a septet, playing the most different instruments, like acoustic, electric, bass and steel guitars, piano and drums, plus some people guesting on strings. The mix takes care to give every player enough room so that the elaborated arrangements can unfold to the fullest.

It’s especially Kristoffer Bolander’s vocals that are often compared to Neil Young and the steel guitar which inject a strong country feeling into the music. Holmes manage the bridging between indie and Americana perfectly on the first half of the album, where the mostly long songs use their time smartly to start out slowly to develop into richly instrumented epics. Especially the seven minute Long Waiting does this splendidly, although the opener Possession, the single Storm and the strangely titled David Lettermann also stick out positively. The second half disappoints with too much introspection that seems, after repeated listening, like solo material by the vocalist with his acoustic guitar. The other band members stay discreetly in the background, robbing Holmes of the magic that made out the preceding songs. The title track which ends the album fortunately displays the band’s composing strengths once more, leaving the listener mostly satisfied with a record that starts out tremendously, then loses unexpectedly power with four consecutive slows to end with one more of their better songs. If Holmes are able to concentrate on their strengths in the future and abandon their rather unexciting slower side, they might very well make it to the top of Europe’s indie movement.

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