Holy Esque – Television/Sweet (Beyond the Frequency)
DL (LP coming in September ’18)
Glasgow post-punks Holy Esque return with a follow-up to their 2016 debut. A record deeper, bleaker and more heavy hitting than it’s predecessor. Louder Than War’s Dave Beech reviews.
If Holy Esque’s 2016 debut At Hope’s Ravine felt like the band teetering on the brink of said ravine, only retaining their grip thanks to its occasional moments of optimism, then their follow up, Television/Sweet, feels like them losing their grip completely, plunging headfirst in to a desolate and dystopian miasma.
While their debut took its influence from the direct surroundings of the bands native Glasgow and Lanarkshire, and so harboured a sense of grandeur, here Television/Sweet takes its influence from less tangible surroundings: the current socio/political climate.
Unless you’re sat at home reading this and lighting your cigars with a crisp twenty, chances are you’re aware and in agreement that UK is, to be honest, fucked. Holy Esque are aware of this too, and as a result Television/Sweet is downtrodden and despondent, with moments of optimism coming far less readily.
Far from being a record about politics directly however, it’s a record that feels like a direct response to the way in which we, as both a society and as individuals, are adapting to a world, and country, changing rapidly as a result of politics.
As such, tracks like ‘Modern Tones’ or ‘Filth or Passion’ throb with an intense sense of disenfranchisement, while others feel racked with anxiety and insecurity. It’s not far from an easy listen, but nor does it draw its influence from a bright and breezy subject. Instead Television/Sweet is a brutally cathartic record that’s as introspective as it is cloying and claustrophobic.
A departure from their debut? Absolutely. But the world’s changed massively even since 2016 and Holy Esque haven’t just observed the fact, they’ve adapted to it, resulting in a second album that’s wise beyond its years and heartbreaking in its cynicism. Powerful and crushing in equal measure.
Dave Beech is a music writer based out of Manchester. He writes and edits for a number of different websites and links to his work can be found over at his blog, Life’s A Beech, as well as his Louder Than War Author Archive. He also tweets as @Dave__Beech.