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Here Holy Spain is a punk-influenced rock band from Dallas, TX that has built their foundation on a sound that is bold and aggressive, with strange overtones and twisted lyrical imagery.
Imagine an alternate reality, a modern rock landscape that took a different turn in the wake of early-to-mid 90’s alternative, one without the auto-tuned grunts of “HYESAYYYY” and “NYURGHHHH” that plague the genre today. What if unlikely mainstream darlings like Nirvana and Green Day had swirled together to inspire rock music that could simultaneously boast brains, balls AND heart? Here Holy Spain lives in this wonderland where such bands are the ones wildly celebrated, instead of the seemingly endless varieties of vapid mall-punk, mindless meathead-metal and the post-grunge genre that has become best identified as “butt-rock.”
This longing for a rock revival and/or revolution is evident in the latest EP offering by Here Holy Spain, “UNDER THE UNDERTOW.” A band with solid chops and memorable hooks, not looking to be another cookie cutter radio-rock lemming, but also not ignoring the heavy riffs that inspired them to thrash it out in the first place. There is nay a banjo nor a faux English accent to be found on the record. Dubstep drop? Forget about it.
Opener “Way Out One In Five” sounds like it could melt your speakers when turned up to eleven, with startling screams from the pit of a stomach full of boiling acid. “Golden Gun” reveals a cold call and creepy crawl with the opening lyric “Woke up in a maze full of gravel and glass…” Here, Todd could have found the words to describe his band’s sound direct from his own song. Gritty, gravelly, from-the-gut screams pitted back to back with melodies clear and cutting like broken panes of glass. “Hundreds of Heads Underwater” describes a boy’s reluctance to destroy his toys and become a man, with a snot-nosed snarl and a syrupy chorus that never wears out its welcome. “Drive Out West” is the soundtrack to a carefree cruise down a desert highway with subtle nods to influences Alkaline Trio and Hot Water Music, and closer “Even The Bright Ones Burn Out” burns bright and steady like some unlikely hybrid of Quicksand, Seaweed and Jawbreaker.
So what exactly is Here Holy Spain? It is dichotomy rock at its finest. A hi-fi product of lo-fi enthusiasts with a balance between indie demure and in-your-face spirit that frankly, is unique to find today. They are not carbon copies of any influence that came before them, nor are they breaking any molds. Perhaps too “rock” for your typical indie crowd, and perhaps also too “indie” for your typical rock crowd. However, these crowds will inevitably find themselves meeting in the middle for this undeniable, heavy hook machine.
Cover art by the astonishingly talented James O’Barr (”The Crow”).