Holy Fuck Holy FuckLatin
Calling Holy Fuck a band seems a little imprecise to me. From 2004 until now, only the names of Brian Borcherdt and Walsh Graham remain in a group that has left room for other comrades to participate in the project, such as Loel Campbell and Mike Bigelow, currently in Wintersleep. And I say “project” because there is a premise in the group’s musical creation: to discard the techniques of electronic music to do something similar to current electronic. That is to say, to discard computers, programming, and loops to use only instruments and other tools like pedals, musical toys and—the star of the set for its eccentricity—a 35 mm film synchroniser. Laugh, if you like, at the swords and chains of These New Puritans. As we were saying, a whole display of analogue doodads, all for creating electronic music. But the ambiguity of the term “electronic music,” as we know it today greatly widens the creative spectrum that may arise from the group. Don’t expect to find people with drums, guitars, basses, and a few beat-up gadgets doing indietronic dance floor bangers like Soulwax, because you’re going to be disappointed.
“Latin,” which is their third LP, does nothing more than provide continuity to a sound that is ready, and which, given the circumstances of the group’s formation and deformation, we can attribute to its unchanging core: the Borcherdt-Graham tandem. This sound, despite the creative premise aimed at electronic, is much closer kin to the indie rock of the last two decades. In reality, Borcherdt and Graham come from this range, as does Dave Newfeld, the producer of Broken Social Scene, Stars, or Los Campesinos! among others, and who has stayed at the band’s side for production work throughout its history. Explained like this, there doesn’t seem to be even a trace of the electronic left in the invention, so why keep using the word in connection with Holy Fuck? It’s a question of spirit, of the intrinsic transcendence of the sound and obtuse focus. Yes, it sounds very indie, but they propitiate the pursuit of pleasure like genres clinging to creation with machines. The result is a session of highborn indie to trip on any variety of drugs with. This group appears with its rock pattern design in the middle of a night of wild partying, taking you really “down” (because rock is for before you really get going), and then you end up genuflecting with them, with tears of pleasure in your eyes.
Genuflection and tears is what “ Silva & Grime,” “ SHT MTN,” and “ Stilettos” deserve, the middle part of the album. It is at those three times that Holy Fuck really squeezes all it can out of the festive spirit based on tireless, galloping drums, with a solid bass line, and infinite layers of keyboards and other paraphernalia that explore places as distant as colourful psychedelic melodies or schizo industrial noise. With “ SHT MTN” they have reached the original premise, anyone would think that there’s a loop canned in a machine, but it’s just that they have a metronome inside instead of biorhythms. Although the formula loses speed, it continues to be effective in songs like “ P.I.G.S.,” with its use of layers to create rises and falls in adrenalin, or “ Red Light,” which starts out picking up the noisy ambient left by “ MD” and then throws a smoke bomb, suddenly turning into a funk rock song with any easy groove. “ Red Light,” as well as “ Latin America,” has a little Beck, a little Big Soul, a little Moby, and a little Red Hot Chili Peppers, or any other name that connects with the most hype indie of the 90’s.
Holy Fuck hasn’t managed to do something similar to “ Lovely Allen” this time (“ Stay Lit” tries to make the cut doing post rock, but it lacks vitality and shine). Nevertheless, with “Latin” they add a good batch of songs to their live repertoire, which we won’t get to enjoy in Barcelona unless we travel around Europe (which is always a good idea). When you can’t get what you want, you take and appreciate what you can get; when you can’t get concerts, decent records are good enough. Mónica Franco