With a name like Holy Fuck, it is not surprising that many people may not have come across this amazing eclectic band – luckily I have no moralistic scruples about it. And believe me, it is an appropriate name; the first time I listened to their music, that was my exact reaction, “Holy Fuck.” Hailing from Toronto, Canada, this is a band that understands the connection between noise and melody, cacophony and music. Having released their third album, “Latin” (11 May 2010), Holy Fuck has produced an entire album, meant to be an album. Avoiding the post iTunes/iPod revolution of just collecting songs into one collection, that in their entirety does not play well together or reflect on one another, HF’s “Latin” is meant to be taken in as a complete experience, as an album… something that is becoming rarer and rarer, but nevertheless something I love.
I am not intimating that the individual songs are weak without their brethrens close by; just the opposite, what makes this album amazing is that each song is carefully thought through. Each song has been given its own feel, its own identity though a combination of sounds and rhythms that are indigenous to that said song. Furthermore, from a production point of view, this album is not as refined as the previous two albums; “Latin” is definitely the rawest album they have released. It is almost as if they are capturing their live presence on the recording… turn up the volume high enough, it may sound as if they are right there next to you.
Opening with “1MD,” you may be misled to what comes next. This is compressed, feedback, noise, droning, harrowing, and horrifying… and if the point of an opening track is to grab the listeners attention, HF has succeeded! What follows is their own brand of dance punk; not the dance punk of popular acts like Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but rather a dirtier, grittier, and less compromising form of dance punk that relies more heavily on funky bass lines and harsher, non pop, beats. Elements of post-rock and smidges of psychadelia weave themselves into the soundscape to enrich the range of music and keep you on your toes.
“Red Lights,” the second track of the album, is mixed right in, with a sexy-come-dance-with-me-funky-bass, the antithesis of what preceded, this is a song that easily captures the mind’s attention and the body’s need for movement. Where as “Latin America” will continue the same groove, with a piano added, “Stay Lit” slows down, creates an experimental lull, to change the mood and atmosphere to prepare for the more rocking “Silva & Grimes.” Eventually bringing the party to an end with “P.I.G.S.,” it is the harshest song on the album, one in which it is difficult to sway attention from. The heavily compressed/distorted elements are abrasive but welcoming, the beat danceable but verging on indie rock. And if this album is an attempt to capture a raw, live presence, this is the big finish to the set, doing justice to all that came before.
I remember reading once that Holy Fuck wanted to produce “electronic” music without the programming and looping. This is something they succeed in time and time again; with a drummer and bassist in the fold with two keyboardists, they traverse through endless possibilities. “Latin” is no exception, and I would argue their best album to date. Full of raw intensity, fueled by an understanding of noise, this is easily a standout in this year’s musical field.
2. Red Lights
3. Latin America
4. Stay Lit
5. Silva & Grime
6. SHT MTN
Keep up with Holy Fuck at their homepage, MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter.
Here is their video for “Latin America” from the youngturksrecords YouTube Channel.