Touring their debut album When The Storms Would Come and selling out shows on both sides of the world, Aussie guitar group Holy Holy could well be the next band to conquer the UK and the northern hemisphere, and be the biggest deal since Kylie Minogue.
Holy Holy is a group very much on the fast rise back home in their native Australia so one would immediately consider it no hard sell to fill the 300 cap Lexington in central London, given the antipodean presence in the city. Sold out show, yes of course, but on closer inspection you indentify not just the usual bunch of dutiful patriots but a mixed bunch of regular gig-goers and genuinely interested folk, and not to mention a definite wealth of attractive females amidst a crowd so packed tight even 90s Britrock stun gun Liam Gallagher goes largely unnoticed at the back of the room. No big deal then.
It is an anomaly why the music of Australia does not travel as freely as it its people, given the great antipodean connection. Tame Impala have recently made a huge dent; Courtney Barnett has great potential too. In the 90s, Jet ascended off the back of the Britpop phenomenon, and there are the obvious big hitters like INXS and Nick Cave. Let's try not to include AC/DC and Midnight Oil because the former were essentially Scottish and the latter no more than a one-hit wonder.
Holy Holy is a band that immediately works on two levels. The voice recalls Al Stewart and alongside duelling Neil Young guitar stabs it works to craftily interweave the certainty of 70s rock with structures of neo-psych grooves and tinges of alt-country. It is this amalgamation that sums up the core aspect of the group, singer-songwriter Timothy Carroll and guitarist and musical director Oscar Dawson. A pair who met whilst doing the global traveller thing out through Asia and to Europe and back.
The band's heavy groove and guitar led melody of the late 60s and 70s is a fine balancing act of Americana and modern polished rock n roll. Songs like 'Heartbreaker', 'You Cannot Call for Love Like a Dog' and even a cover of Young's 'Southern Man' present delicate touches of fragility, cynicism or even weariness that comes from life's experiences, and a long way from the full-on rock music norm.
Those aforementioned groups that have made something of themselves in the UK have largely done so via the U.S. Holy Holy have that foot in the past but thankfully recognise that Rock n Roll is not a new or naive thing anymore and must be presented as such. Post-Modern it is, and only a fool would call it pastiche but what is for certain its bands like Holy Holy who are re-awakening the genre in an accurate, and sonically spectacular fashion. Holy Holy are modern, indie DIY travellers who carry dream pop loveliness off with the big riffs and solos of a now almost forgotten time with mesmerising aplomb.
The major label system has carried bands from INXS to Tame Impala around the globe. Holy Holy could well be the first truly independent band to achieve the same. Never mind London, America is surely calling, and with that will come certain success. We will hear more of this band, and we will see them again here in London and I will bet the last shirt in my laundry it is in a room a damn site bigger than this.