Holy Holy are whole. After years of plying their trade on anthemic stadium-ready rock tinged with hints of 80’s glam guitar and synth, the Australian act now feel complete; like they’ve managed to pull it all together once and for all. Here on Hello My Beautiful World, the anthemic beauty of the band continues to seep through on songs that will, without doubt, continue to hold a special spot for the band and fans for years to come.
Leaning on a heap of collaborators and friends (including Clews, Japanese Wallpaper and Queen P) to find that special spice to help shape and form Hello My Beautiful World, I challenge you not to feel a little more invigorated and empowered after giving the album a listen through. From opening track “Believe Anything”, HMBW opens with a cheerful yet empowering bounce, matched with the choral chant of ‘I can believe anything’. Without diving too far into the lyrics, if you can’t take anything away from the blind optimism of wanting/ trying to believe in any or all things, when matched with the jovial instrumentation, then maybe this album isn’t for you.
Across their previous three albums, Oscar Dawson and Tim Carroll have managed to always have an underlying sense of positivity and euphoria across their songs. Much of this continues on HMBW, while indulging in and leaning into a more mystical vibe (the spoken word “Hello My Beautiful World” is eerie, spooky, sprawling and beautiful). There’s still the undeniable and always present Holy Holy guitar licks from Dawson, while the vocals of Carroll remain as strong and present as ever and tie the album together.
Not unfamiliar with recording and working separate from each other, the world falling into complete disarray in 2020 didn’t pose too much of an issue for Holy Holy. Where other artists may have struggled to create while separated, if anything, Holy Holy has progressed as a band to a point where they’ve now possibly made their most complete album yet. Joking that they’ve always made albums in isolation (mostly by choosing to live in separate cities), HMBW is a testament to Holy Holy’s ability to work independently, separately, together or collaboratively with others.
Their ability to get the best out of themselves, each other and others comes to the forefront across most of the album, from the hip hop influenced “Port Rd” featuring Queen P to the soaring and incessantly cutting “The Aftergone” featuring Clews. “Port Rd” is a slightly left-field take from the band, and as the first cut from the album, did leave some listeners a little worried with where the rest of the album was headed. Needless to say, there wasn’t anything to worry about, as “Port Rd” and its raging beat and layered, angular guitars make it one of the more impressive singles on the album. “The Aftergone” does follow a little more of a traditional sound from Holy Holy, with the backing vocals of Clews setting it apart from similar tracks on the album and previous releases. “The Aftergone” feels like it’s the song on HMBW that will lend itself to being remixed down the track.
Changing it up again, “I.C.U” has a Tourist History era Two Door Cinema Club vibe to it, with a few cowbells and relentless hi-hats forming the basis of a really solid moment on the album. Dawson’s eclectic and distinctive guitar styles take all the glory on “So Tired”, a fiery four minutes filled with an almost euro-beat throughout. Again, their ability to change it up from track-to-track while not making it too much of a gimmick is something the band has seemingly now mastered. “So Tired” ending with some strings only strengthens the track that bit more, before its coda featuring Clews once more, really takes this track to the next level.
The album definitely reaches its highest peak on “Stand Where I’m Standing”, a soaring and absolutely glorious anthem for the ages. A reflective yet driving near four minutes of pure beauty, “Stand Where I’m Standing” has the hallmarks of a hit in waiting, reaching into the same space filled by other classics like The Killers’ “When You Were Young” and The War on Drugs’ “Red Eyes”. Its delicate layers of guitars, matched with the vocals and guest instrumentation from Japanese Wallpaper that really makes “Stand Where I’m Standing” an overwhelmingly fantastic and reaffirming moment on the album.
Whilst not the perfect album, Hello My Beautiful World forges Holy Holy place as one of Australia’s best and most consistent bands. Known for their live shows just as much as for their albums, Hello My Beautiful World leaves Holy Holy incredibly well placed to continuing cementing their place in the upper echelons of the Australian music landscape. Their ability to meld a variety of genres and styles together is a testament to their abilities as musicians and as a band. Hello My Beautiful World is their best album yet.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Hello My Beautiful World is out Friday 20 August.