Holy Balm - It's You
'It's You' begins with a conscious nod to the past, a cover of the Y-Pants no wave classic 'Favourite Sweater', originally released in 1980. Opening your debut album with a cover might seem like a terrible idea, and I would speculate that in most cases it would be, but with Holy Balm the choice seems oddly fitting. Holy Balm's approach to music making proudly harkens back to the 80s, that glittery decade of excess where synthesizers ruled the earth and to live meant to party. This is not a retro revival album though, this record is firmly planted in 2012. Whereas the earlier releases of this Sydney 3-piece were joyfully loose experiments in noisy electronica, 'It's You' shows a band that has evolved considerably over the last 2 years. In the process Holy Balm has created an incredibly modern and intelligent avant-dance pop album.
'Losing Control' is a fascinating, surreal highlight - analogue synths and percussion pulsate with an organic hypnotism not of this world. Emma Ramsay's vocals are self assured yet distant and detached, adding considerable weight to the enigmatic effect this band creates. Holy Balm are at their most thrilling during longer tracks such as 'One & Only' and 'Phone Song', where after fairly conventional beginnings the band expand outwards into the pure psychedelic dance territory that they do so well. My only complaint would be that these moments don't last even longer.
All 7 songs on display here are hits, each one with the potential to pick you up out of the gutter and blast you to the outer reaches of cosmic bliss. If you're looking for a way to briefly zone out of the harsh trappings of reality then I highly recommend this home grown slab of sonic escapism. A joint release from Sydney's RIP Society and Los Angeles' Not Not Fun Records.