Holding Absence - Holding Absence album review
The self titled album from the Welsh quintet is potentially one of the most solid debuts in a long time. Coherent, cohesive and passionate, Holding Absence are a brilliant example of how to make music.
Originality9
Lyrics9
Replay Value8.5
Instrumentation8.5
Impact8.5
8.7Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
10.0

One of the perks of being a music journalist is getting to hear albums before they’re released. Not because it’s something to brag about, but because, on the rare occasion that an album leaves you speechless, hearing the songs early gives you time to form a coherent response. And that head start was something needed when it came to Holding Absence.

The self titled album from the Welsh quintet is potentially one of the most solid debuts in a long time. Coherent, cohesive and passionate, Holding Absence are a brilliant example of how to make music. The band have surged to the forefront of the general consciousness with their latest releases, building a following and perfecting their craft with their live performances. From small intimate gigs of barely thirty to performing to hundreds of people, the band have grown in popularity – something well deserved.

Their music – beautifully visceral lyrics, crashing and yet uplifting instrumentals and a style that’s fluid – is something refreshingly open. All of this and the unashamed vulnerability and unapologetic sweetness in both the vocals and lyrics make this band stand out.

The album centres itself upon the topic of love – as so many albums do. But rather than focus on it as a shallow concept Holding Absence dive deeper into it, exploring every aspect of the emotion in a way that sees vocalist, Lucas Woodland, sing about a relationship in its entirety:

‘I realised a great way to make this album would be to document relationship from start to finish. I know that it sounds very playground but I really wanted to get into the nitty gritty of everything… I feel as though we touch on a lot of topics that people don’t really have the patience to talk about.’

And they do touch on a lot. From the vulnerability of asking for help, to dealing with mental health, right through to the breakup, the album documents emotions without shying away from them. Relationships are multifaceted and the complexity of feelings is mirrored in the complex and tumultuous album and even in the recording process. Dealing with losing members and a dynamic shift in the band; the lyrics are given a myriad of meanings. One of the bigger takeaways is that letting things go is sometimes for the best.

‘Everything has to mean something. There is so much emotion in the world right now […] Holding Absence is always going to be about feeling as much as you can.’

There’s a certain ethereal quality in the music. The slow building intro to Perish – and intro that’s over a minute long – is soothing and transcendent. And then the drums and guitar start. The juxtaposition between the different emotions is a beautifully literal representation between the calm and chaos of a relationship.
Purge echoes this with melancholy piano and lyrics that sit heavy on your chest despite Woodlands angelic vocals. The song is quite literally short and sweet, a fleeting moment in the grand scheme of the album but one that is bruising poignant.

Another few hundred words could be easily dedicated to singing this bands praises. From the blistering drums – because we can’t write about the band without mentioning the pure talent of Ashley Green – right through to the bass and guitar there’s not one aspect of this album that doesn’t showcase the ambition and skill of each member. Having an album that is, in essence, a physical representation of what Holding Absence are, how they feel and think, is a privilege and listening to it is an immersive experience.

Holding Absence

Holding Absence is available everywhere now via SharpTone Records – order it here.

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