Let me start where I will finish. With Holyesque we are witnessing one of, if not the, best bands in the country.
At the band’s intimate launch party for debut album ‘At Hopes Ravine’ at the Old Hairdressers in Glasgow, those lucky enough to be in attendance were treated to a masterclass in the delivery of angular, cinematic anthems given extra resonance by the snug surroundings.
The gallery-like quality of the venue proved the perfect location for the event, with band members Keir Reid and Ralph Mclure – who both study at Glasgow School of Art – taking advantage to adorn the walls with some stunning album related art work, with each print symbolising a word from each track on the record.
A playback of ‘At Hopes Ravine’ whet everyone’s appetite before the band took to the corner of the room to play what was an intense and thoroughly impressive set. Bar a minor technical error on the first song, the band proceeded to rip through At Hopes Ravine in full, track after track.
Doing so helped to elevate the album’s quality as a work of stunning depth and multiplicity, as ‘Prism’s animalistic swathe of fuzzy guitars almost incinerated the ear drums of the crowd stood at close quarters, while follow-up ‘Rose’ showcased the weighty substance of Keir Reid’s synth driven tones to the post-punk four piece.
The double whammy of Silences and then Strange arrived with the force and muscle of successive heavyweight punches, as lead guitarist Hugo McGinley’s virtuoso scything, cosmic riffs cluster around front man Pat Hynes’s primal scream.
Meanwhile, the woozy lament that is Doll House offered a brief, momentary respite as Holyesque offered up what is the closest they come to a full blown ballad, before a blistering Tear reawakened the senses and transported us into full stadium rock territory inside the small venue.
The aggressive, pounding percussion My Wilderness, with its strobe heavy spectacle and celestial climax was a stand-out, before title track ‘At Hopes Ravine’ brought the set to a triumphant close amidst Hynes’s trembling, throaty sermon and wall of nebulous guitars.
A return to the stage saw the crowd’s enthusiasm peak with a terrific cover of Robert Palmer’s Addicted To Love, as Reid’s synths and Hynes’s vocal gave the song a tremendously 80’s disco gloss that had everyone vibrating.
Rarely in the past few years have a band sounded so well-configured, vivid and utterly relevant. Not only was this a special night for the band, the fruition of over 5 years of gigs and studio work, but also to the small crowd in attendance, who witnessed a night of supreme musical quality.
It goes without saying that Holyesque are the real deal, made up of four consummate and equally outstanding musicians who together form one of, if not the best bands not only in Glasgow, but the country. Cinematic post punk in its purest form.