Dusted Reviews

Holy Sons - I Want To Live A Peaceful Life

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Holy Sons

Album: I Want To Live A Peaceful Life

Label: FILMguerrero

Review date: Oct. 6, 2003

For a man with over a thousand songs recorded on 4-track, Emil Amos isn't too ambitious to get anywhere. From out of the nether-regions of his basement (or boudoir, whatever's more comfy), the project known as Holy Sons is now closer than ever to seeing the dimmed Schlitz sign of our current watering hole. Not that he's trying too hard. While leaders of the knit-hat set like Will Oldham and Songs: Ohia have been able to consistently market and package their melancholy and paralysis, Emil seems to have let it get to him. With the release of his fourth album, however, Holy Sons may have a slightly less austere future ahead.

I Want To Live A Peaceful Life contains both re-recorded songs from Emil's deep vaults and some newer home recordings which do not suffer from the needle-pushing efforts of Holy Sons' previous work. The album also foregoes some of the experimentation found on his previous effort, Lost Decade (Pamlico Sound). Still, enough ear-tweaking tape noises blot the album to push it away from a standard folk-rock outing. Traces of Fred Neil and Neil Young are rather obvious throughout, but the usual homogeneity of newer folk-rock albums is alleviated by the fresh crop of instrumentation and arrangements surrounding these abridged meanderings.

Otherwise, however, things don't change much from 4-track to final cut. Songs which appear as ideas hastily scribbled remain truncated and makeshift in this final form, while a few exceptions merit true toe-tapping exertion.

On the other hand, who's to say when a song is finished, especially when there's a thousand more to choose from? It is with this reckoning that Holy Sons begins to put forth a sense of direction, one which hopefully will overtake the past assortment of musicians who have almost decimated the fertile underground of “folk.” Unlike the currently popular psychedelic forms of folk music that pad the underground, the mold firmly established in the 1990s within the indie-folk genre reeked of untoward and unnecessary asceticism.

In its essentialist myth-forms, "folk" music tends to make claims of authenticity that rock scornfully rejects (just look at where the word ‘folk’ comes from). The artists which ride between these two rails usually tumble failingly onto one side of this ersatz fence, peering over to what might be if one just plugged/unplugged the guitar. As with the once popular depression-era pole-sitting, staying on top of this fence presents itself as a fervent mastery of these two forms.

However, the best music comes when the curtain is pulled away, and the fence is revealed as nothing more than a false god. Holy Sons hints at this dialectic, and Emil Amos' utter disregard for anything close to musical commercialism springboards his work to another possible purpose: Transcendence of the confines we have all brought upon ourselves.

P.S. Some Christians believe St Simeon Stylites, the first and probably the most famous of the long succession of stylitoe, or pillar-hermits, spent 36 years sitting on a pillar, before dying in 459.

By Kevan Harris

Other Reviews of Holy Sons

Survivalist Tales!

Read More

View all articles by Kevan Harris

Find out more about FILMguerrero

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.