[sic] Magazine

Holygram – Holygram EP

Köln (Cologne to you and me) is a very cool city offering plenty to visitors. A university town, I find it architecturally and culturally interesting . Take a walk to the riverside and marvel at the Rheinauhafen Apartment Buildings. Drink a Kölsh (or several – the barman will keep topping you up). See a band. A band like Holygram perhaps, who deal in post-punk nostalgia and tread a tightrope between new wave and darkwave.

Post-punk made something of a revival after the turn of the millennia. Interesting groups popped up on both sides of the Atlantic – typified by the likes of Interpol and Editors. However, as somebody who is based in mainland Europe now, I can attest to the fact that that eighties sound never really went away in the first place, particularly in parts of Germany and Netherlands. Honestly it’s no stretch whatsoever to say that there are regions and subcultures where mullet haircuts are still worn, where Sisters Of Mercy fans are still… thin and Goth clubs are still a thing. I went into a German Record Store and The Scorpions were the No1 selling artist. I kid you not!

This Holygram EP comprises five original tracks plus four remixes. Disappointingly, lead track ‘Hideaway’ doesn’t get the remix treatment. A pity because I rather favour it. However, I was never here for the remixes anyway. They make a nice bonus, but I wouldn’t have been interested in acquiring them separately if I’m honest. ‘Hideaway’, alongside material like ‘Acceleration’ showcase a band who know their eighties classics – The Cure, The Chameleons etc [RIP John Lever]. Other songs here are Darkwave, urging us to head out to the nearest Batcave to strut our stuff. Clan Of Xymox fans will appreciate ‘Daria’ and ‘Still There’. Some earworms here, I can tell you. On my second listen and I’m already sliding my appraisal upwards.

As hinted, there is no shortage of this type of eighties revival sound right now. Groups like Motorama and She Past Away (with whom Holygram will play live dates this year) have been keeping the pilot light on for a while already. Imagine four young men looking like characters out of The Crow. All ‘lovely blokes once you get to know them’ types. (Editor: Maybe you have an overactive imagination?) Yet Holygram do their thang well. There’s a freshness here and a lightness of touch. Their melodic leanings give them a significant advantage over others of their ilk.

Worth keeping tabs on.