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I seem to have found myself with lots of metal in my review mountain today, so I was expecting this debut LP by Hollow Sunshine on Robotic Empire to be pretty straightforward chug'n'howl business but I'm pleasantly surprised to discover that it's actually pretty weird and unique sludgepop stuff. Hollow Sunshine are treading a peculiar line somewhere between heavy Harvey Milk/Melvins/Floor guitar tones squeezed elegantly into triumphantly plodding pop songs that bring to mind the likes of the Cocteau Twins, Lush and the Smashing Pumpkins.
It's a winning formula. The white-hot hi-gain guitar saturation gives the music a gnarly edge that keeps the more poppy aspect from getting too syrupy, allowing them to reach potentially cheesy peaks without sounding hackneyed. On some tracks, like 'Old Light', the pop-metal churn certainly invites comparisons to the first Torche record, but throughout 'Held Above' they take that sludge-pop idea into far more fully-realised pop territory than that band. 'Here For Now' is a highlight, a soft strummy bit of romantic summer indie that'd pass for Teenage Fanclub if it wasn't for the coruscating levels of guitar distortion, and the pop-metal riffing of 'Indifference' is pretty infectious too. I've got to say I'm instantly impressed with their sludgy, distorted take on indie pop. Recommended.
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- Held Above by Hollow Sunshine
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