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Thread: Holopaw - Academy Songs, Vol. 1

  1. #1
    Grumpy Old Man Music Head's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Lancaster, Kentucky, United States

    Default Holopaw - Academy Songs, Vol. 1

    online listen
    a little too alternative for me
    sounds like they don't know what they want to sound like
    nothing I can say I really liked, but a few come close
    1.2 from me and a converted 2.1 from the pros at allmusic

    from the album - Golden Sparklers

    released Jan 15th, 2013

    Bio - from allmusic

    Gainesville, Florida's delicate indie country-rock group Holopaw features
    singer/songwriter/guitarist John Orth, who worked with Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock on his side
    project Ugly Casanova. Brock brought Orth's band to the attention of Sub Pop, who signed
    Holopaw and released their self-titled debut in early 2003. Two years later, the band offered
    another collection of pretty, intimate songs, Quit+/or Fight. Though the lineup fluctuated, in
    2009 the band resurfaced with Oh, Glory. Oh, Wilderness. and again in 2013 with the majestic
    Academy Songs, Vol. 1, both led by Orth and his increasingly ornamented songwriting.

    Album Review - from allmusic

    Led by singer/songwriter John Orth, Florida-based indie band Holopaw have molded epic
    statements more than they've been on any regular release schedule with their albums. Academy
    Songs, Vol. 1 is their fourth album, arriving 12 years after their inception. The highly
    ornamented and painstakingly arranged album follows more delicate early fare, and presents a
    song cycle based around a loose narrative taking place at an all-boys academy. While highly
    conceptual in nature, Orth is never direct enough with his lyrics to branch off into a full-on
    concept album. The themes are vague enough that they could be applied to any number of
    relationships or situations, and far more captivating are the arrangements and dynamic shifts
    in orchestrations that make up the cyclical nature of the album. The rhythmic push of "Golden
    Sparklers" flows organically through various sections loaded with spare percussion, distant
    backing vocals, and interweaving melodies shifting keys dramatically. The song is a standout
    early on and represents the strongest elements of Academy Songs, Vol. 1. At his best, Orth
    manages to stitch together ideas from what seems like it could be a half dozen different songs,
    all with enough momentum and confidence to never come off hackneyed. The nervously zigzagging
    rhythms of "Infidels" approach similar dimensions, moving along with purpose through various
    dynamic shifts. Elsewhere, the mood is a bit too hushed for its own good, with songs like
    "Bedfellows Farewell" and "Diamonds" so slow and gentle they draw attention more to the post-
    goth emo qualities of Orth's voice, which at its worst sounds like a huskier Conor Oberst
    emulating Robert Smith. Mention of Orth's early involvement with Modest Mouse main main Isaac
    Brock's side band Ugly Casanova comes up often when discussing Holopaw, but the Northwestern
    ennui that touched earlier albums (and defined Brock's songwriting at its peak) is less present
    here. Orth seems committed to developing a complex and insular environment with these songs,
    and though the plot of the story seems somewhat nebulous, a sonic narrative gets clearer with
    repeated listening. The album is bookended with what are essentially two readings of the same
    song; "Academy" charges out of the gate with drums thunderously loud in the mix, while "Golden
    Years" closes the album with a repetition of softly chanting group vocals. In between, all the
    ambitious turns and sharp dynamic spikes build a tension that seems to reach some strange and
    comforting resolution by the album's end. It's an obtuse story arc, to be sure, but by the end
    we feel like we've at least witnessed someone going through something important, even if we
    can't quite connect to it ourselves or even be sure what it is.

    Track Listing

    1. Academy
    2. Golden Sparklers
    3. Diamonds
    4. Bedfellows Farewell
    5. Dirty Boots He Don't
    6. We Are The Virgin Snow
    7. Discotheque
    8. Infadels
    9. Chapperelles Interlude
    10. The Lights From The Disco
    11. Golden Years
    A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.
    Will Rogers

  2. #2


    i actually dont mind that link you put up Music Head, but i dont like it enough to listen to the whole album or even consider putting it on my list for 2013.

  3. #3
    Grumpy Old Man Music Head's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Lancaster, Kentucky, United States


    hey! why did Myst delete her post?
    A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.
    Will Rogers

  4. #4


    dont know, i didnt read it??

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