The Holy Hecks, the self-titled debut EP from the Los Angeles quartet, has a bubblegum pop soul, but rolled in soot and iron filings. It's like a strawberry milkshake, shared with your sweetie, laced with a dash of balsamic vinaigrette.
The Holy Hecks is built around the brain trust of Johaina and Elias Crabtree, on lead and rhythm guitar, respectively. Their garage-y psychedelia is fleshed out by Andrew Anderson on bass and Robert Perez on drums. The guitars favor a late-night, shivering, reverb-laden rockabilly romantic sound, with occasional forays into post-punk psychedelia, with gloopy gelatinous flange, as on album opener "Aubade".
The saccharine outweighs the strychnine, from here on out, as The Holy Hecks! venture into slow and moody late-night terrain, a la Mazzy Star or Beach House, on "Aubade", which also features some tasty lead licks from Elias, and some tasteful vocal harmonies that really flesh out the sound and bring it to life.
The Holy Hecks! debut EP is a recorded approximation of their live sound, with only some keyboard overdubs from sound engineer James Haworth. The EP was captured with rough and ready equipment, and heavily compressed, throughout the recording process. This results in a raw, 4-track sound that places this EP more in the 'lo-fi' or 'experimental' camp. But everyone knows most notable records are leaking out of basements and garages these days. If you're looking for radio-ready commercial fare, go watch a commercial.
The Holy Hecks! manage to convey the multiple layers of life in Southern California. Their debut EP is infused with sand and dust; you can practically smell the mesquite, and feel the beating Death Valley sun on your forehead. They also capture the innocence and freedom of the '50s/'60s youth culture paradise.
Think The Handsome Family's soundtrack for the first season of True Detective blended with Brian Wilson's agoraphobic meltdown. They transmit the complexity of living in a place and being young. It's complicated, but the enjoyment of this music is simple and sweet.
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