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Holograms - Holograms

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Artist: Holograms

Album: Holograms

Label: Captured Tracks

Review date: Aug. 8, 2012

Listening to the self-titled album from Stockholm’s Holograms is at times like watching a comedy of impersonation, where occasionally one facade gives way to some dissonant internal truth. What’s less clear is how to file Holograms: are they indie-poppers who prefer the occasional dash of hardcore? Or do they have gang vocals and youth crews followed by a C86 addiction in their personal histories? The styles, while not particularly similar, can be blended -- not long ago, Fucked Up tried their hand at a Shop Assistants cover, for one. Holograms have something different in mind, a fondness for the poppier side of post-punk that periodically threatens to become something much more primal.

Listening to songs like “Transform,” with its pounding drumbeat, one can hear echoes of Martin Hannett’s production work for Joy Division, though Holograms are also capable of working in modes other than “stark.” That musical motif becomes a lyrical one on the later “ABC City,” which supplements its tale of urban despair with a cheeky keyboard counterpoint. “A Tower” and “Orpheo,” for instance, boast surging vocal harmonies that recall the Futureheads’ debut album. And “Apostate,” boasting a post-punk give-and-take throughout, descends into a basement-show friendly breakdown near its conclusion. What ends up enduring the most, though, is the group’s knack for pop hooks, the saturated keyboard melody that crops up in “Chasing My Mind” being particularly noteworthy.

While the individual songs here impress, Holograms feels more like a collection of singles than a cohesive work. Their contemporaries, like Iceage and The Men, have managed to evoke codified styles while still maintaining a recognizable sound. On Holograms, this group clearly shows off their songwriting abilities and musical chops -- these are taut, precisely played songs -- but don’t echo those dynamics across the album’s running time.

By Tobias Carroll

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