Back It Up, the EP from London, Ontario band Holy Roller is an excellent power-pop extravaganza that sounds like Elvis Costello fronting Big Star while listening to some Beach Boys. The songs are well crafted, well performed, upbeat and lyrically intriguing.
The EP starts out with a reverbed jangly guitar line before the drums, bass, and additional guitars drop in with a pop-y groove blending the ‘60s Brit pop feel with a slightly heavier sound a la Material Issue. There’s some clever lyrics throughout that raise an eyebrow if the listener heard it right (“I put my vocals into your conscience last night?”). The chorus is extremely catchy and propelled by the addition of a tambourine, and the adroit guitar solo is a fantastic excursion.
“Everybody Knows” starts with rolling toms under a descending bass line before cascading into a clear and focused vocal line that has some traces of Panic! At The Disco. Like the previous song, the chorus is quite catchy (and with a tambourine), and is a great departure from the verse musically. The guitar solo has some hints of Brian May sans harmony guitars, which is followed by some vocal harmonies that are very Beatle-y.
“Back It Up,” the title track is a 6/8 basher that incorporates stripping instruments away for sections before adding them back in, which makes for some interesting builds and momentum. The chorus becomes almost a repetitive mantra but is infused with enough grit to give it character.
“Soldier On” closes the EP with some elements of ska and pop punk fused with a Brian Wilson-ish melody (that soars in the chorus). It also offers the only bridge on the EP of songs and it functions well moving away from the initial feels before building back up into a final altered chorus. There are some great riffs in the guitar and bass that add some interesting countermelodies and the drumming truly shines on this track.
Overall, Holy Roller has made a great sampler of songs. They play their instruments well and have good radio-friendly voices. Future songs could benefit from having more bridges, but the melodies and lyrics of what the band has released are strong, and beg for more to be written/released as a full album.
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