Holy State: Electric Picture Palace LP

Holy State Electric Picture PalaceWEB 430x430 | Holy State: Electric Picture Palace LPReleasing a record and plotting a headline UK tour should be one of the highs of life as a band.  Strange then, that Holy State’s recent mailshot announced their split a month shy of the release of their debut LP ‘Electric Picture Palace’.  The album itself is an onslaught of angular heavy rock doused in musical Americanisms and jaunty guitars that brought bands like And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead to the fore.  Unfortunately for Holy State, it seems their debut may have arrived a decade too late.

Judging from their live shows, you’d expect Holy State to grab you by the throat from the first song, but something is amiss throughout the album; opening one-two ‘Ride’ and the title track are a rather forgetful seven minutes of generic and unmelodious hardcore punk.  It’s not until deserving lead single ‘Dial M for Monolith’ that the listener is hit with something a little more special; beginning with a driving beat and a far more appealing vocal delivery that suddenly melts down into chugging guitars that sound as if they are being constructed on a hellish factory line.  ‘Sultan of Sentiment’ and ‘Dreamboat’ are both thankless listens; both feel overly clinical and are held back like traffic through a motorway reduced speed limit.

Holy State do show more promise on ‘Brain Caves’ and ‘Lady Magika’; the former is coated in sincere and introverted lyrics and book-ended by a strident horn section; the latter proves singer Rob Jarvis doesn’t always need to shout the highest note he can manage, as he croons like Alex Turner over Queens of the Stoneage-esque stabbing and ghoulish riffs.  From here on in, the band returns to the template sound as they fail to escape pigeon-holing. ‘Love Tames The Wild’ could be a throw-away Rival schools song, ‘Medicine Hat’ and ‘Solid State Messiah’ both drift by without incident.  They do end on more of a high with ‘Age of ADHD’, but this is an unfortunate title given that Holy State have given the listener little to keep hold of as the final guitars ring out.