They came, they supported Biffy Clyro, they released their debut EP, they quit. After three years together and just one album, Holy State are no more. It’s a shame really, because I quite liked this album and it definitely showed promise.
“Electric Picture Palace” doesn’t waste much time in getting going, opening with the punky statement of intent that is ‘Ride’. While it could be louder and more furious, the album is definitely charged with a certain anger.
This is not gentle hangover music. It reminds me of the angular rock of Blood Red Shoes (who they toured with), particularly on ‘Dreamboat’. But they have a more relentless temper and vocals that take more of a back seat than those of the Brighton duo.
They are vaguely reminiscent of The Subways, but perhaps that is an unfair comparison: their lyrics carry more substance and are more abstract than the predictable, if catchy, Subways.
Tracks such as ‘Lady Magika’ show what they can really do. With a simple, hypnotic riff and a slower pace, it is something of an anomaly, and frontman Rob Jarvis seems to change his vocal style entirely. The result is the undoubted highlight of the album.
Even on the first listen, this is a captivating track that brings to mind Queens of The Stone Age and Band of Skulls. This song could have propelled them onto greater things, although it would have given the public a misleading impression of their work.
‘The Ego Riser’ is another oddity. It begins almost like an ambient bluegrass number and, surprisingly, doesn’t explode into anything else. This unexpected and mellow instrumental feels like the previous track (‘Solid State Messiah’) catching breath after building up to a crescendo.
The album ends on a more familiar note with ‘Age of ADHD’, which announces itself with a Foo Fighters-esque riff. It is a fitting end to a record that features versatile guitar work, ranging from the melodic to satisfying moments of dirty bass.
Maybe more than a cameo of female backing vocals would have resulted in a more distinctive album, but then maybe I’m biased as a fan of Blood Red Shoes. Holy State seem to be caught in between sounds at times, but nonetheless, what they have produced here is definitely worth a listen.