Bull & Gate
Glasgow’s Holy Esque arrive into London with a reputation to burn and a debut EP to promote. They’re certainly in possession of band-as-gang grit and whose utter confidence silences the curious and support-band onlookers immediately. Their sound, a key motif for this quartet, has the type of enveloping and all embracing fug that took The National years to hone right. Built around a twin-attack of massive guitars that Richard Hawley might call on ”â all big Gretsches and cool Rickenbackers ”â Holy Esque know how to make six strings sound like an air-raid. EP track Lady Love has that swarming, scaling lines that involuntary arouse the hairs on the back of God’s neck.
Yes, they’re euphoric, big, questing and impassioned, raging post-punk shot through with the husking rasp of Pat Hynes’s Joe Strummeresque voice. Indeed, they’ve a faint strain of the Big Music that Glaswegians seem implausibly good at and, in this brief mid-table slot, Holy Esque don’t let anyone come up for air. Blessed with one of the best drummers to arrive this year, the relentless fury of ”ËRose’ shows a band in grip of dynamics, poise and noise in one fell swoop. So far, so exhausting? Well, not quite. Compared to other claustrophobic dramatists, there’s something altogether more intimate and forlorn in their occasional off-hand jangle. A nod, perhaps, to the way mid-period Wedding Present conjured up lonesome walks home along darkened streets, all pent up anger, frustration and heroic-in-defeat delusion when love has gone bitter, nervy and paranoid. Affairs of the heart, at least it feels so, seems rocket fuel for Holy Esque.
The loud whispers coming out of Glasgow, then, are more than justified on tonight’s show-boating performance. Holy Esque have the look, the sound and the confidence to crane necks and more. More importantly they’re in possession of bright and memory-hugging tunes, too, though occasionally the songs need to rely less on the fireworks display to make the raging drama just seem a little less”Â¦.familiar. But right now, Holy Esque’s passion and verve is a rival to London’s Toy in the big new guitar band stakes.