Holding Absence – ‘Holding Absence’

By Dave Stewart

Holding Absence are about to release one of the most highly anticipated albums in recent years. After exploding onto the British music scene a couple of years ago, the Cardiff based quintet have continued to sweep audiences off their feet and woo listeners with their emotional, intense and intricate music. The demand for a full length record has been immense, and after what seems like an eternity the release of their self-titled debut is finally here. If you’ve already fallen for their past releases, prepare to fall even harder

Over the last couple of years, Holding Absence have become known for their immersive and heartfelt lyrics that they drape over soaring sonic landscapes. If their past material has you hooked, this album will continue to reel you in, as they use their tools with more precision than ever. First single ‘Like A Shadow’ is insanely catchy, and also introduces a faster side to the band than they’ve shown before. The faster pace really drives the verses along, allowing the chorus to deliver a powerful blow directly to your eardrums. If you’ve already heard this and you like it, the rest of this record will ensure a grin remains firmly on your face.

If you’re after ballads that are gut wrenching enough to make your eyes water, grab a few tissues and listen to the beautiful ‘Marigold’, the moving ‘A Godsend’, and the powerful reverb soaked ‘Purge’. If you’re craving hard hitting riffs and giant choruses, then you’ll find what you’re looking for in the white knuckle ride of ‘Perish’ and the infectious melodies of ‘Last Of The Evening Light’. Perhaps gigantic anthems are more your cup of tea? Then fill your cup with the perfectly structured ‘Monochrome’ and the heavy hitting ‘You Are Everything’. All this builds to the album closer ‘Wilt’ perfectly, as it takes you on a painful journey and paints an accurate and detailed picture of love.

Holding Absence have played to their strengths here, and have created a record that is both musically solid and emotionally heavy. The most impressive thing about this record, and what makes that emotion take the centre stage, is the vocals. For the most part, front man Lucas Woodland really pushes his pain outwards, and does so with pure passion. In a few places it sounds like he pushes his voice a little too far, sounding like he’s straining and struggling to reach the notes, but Woodland has a reputation for being completely flawless live. He delivers nothing but haymakers to every audience that Holding Absence performs to, but it remains to be seen if some of these notes can be delivered with that same precision. Let’s hope that they can.

On the whole, this is just as impressive a debut as you could’ve hoped for. Everything that you already love about the band is on display, covered in more icing, cherries and sweet treats than ever before. The tidal waves of emotion that crash through every song will both break your heart and mend it, and you’ll never get tired of letting them wash over you. It’s been a long time coming, but Holding Absence have made sure that the wait was worthwhile.

DAVE STEWART

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