This past Friday Canterbury duo Holy Pinto released their debut album – ‘Congratulations’. It is a collection of warm indie pop that weaves between being cheerful and forlorn. The album showcases vocalist/guitarist Aymen Saleh and drummer Ryan Hurley’s impressive songwriting through engaging storytelling. From the earnest ‘Hospital Room’ to the jangly ‘Tooth’ to the effective title track, Holy Pinto gingerly expand their sound on ‘Congratulations’ with satisfying results.
To talk us through the album track-by-track, Aymen and Ryan pieced together the following guide.
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The album opener, and it does feel like an introduction into what is to come. Starting off in an almost lullaby state, the track quickly builds and hits home with shouted proclamations and a full compliment of instrumentation; including trumpet, organ and keys.
A very driven song, the brief pre-emptive pizzicato guitar is rudely interrupted by crashing drums and lyrics that are very central to one of the albums main themes. I feel it’s heartfelt and contemplative, yet musically it’s fast and fun. Shooting a particularly gory video for this one was a blast!
Brought out the organ on this one! It’s coming out of a Leslie speaker that gives it a cool vibrato effect – Elliott Smith used it a lot and this whole song was inspired by some of his work. We don’t play it as much live these days… since we recorded it with the instrument, I feel like we now need a keyboard player!
Quite a dreamy track, especially lyrically. It’s one of the first songs we ever wrote and holds down the two-piece vibe of our early days. Always reminds me of the writing process within the abandoned Manchester cotton mill we used to call home!
Fun song with a bunch of stops, starts and accents. I initially thought it was too silly to even be considered as a “real” song for the band. Whenever I put badly pronounced Spanish phrases into the lyrics for my own amusement, I’m fully intending the song to never be released, let alone recorded. It’s just this one, along with last year’s ‘Best Pals,’ that have slipped through the cracks so far.
We released this version of the song a year ago – the first song we wrote as a band and demo’ed etc. It’s got a “twinkly” riff and a slow ‘El Scorcho’ groove. Poppy chorus. Always fun to jam out.
One of the darker moments on the album and always brings the crowd to a certain place in a live environment. A far cry from our lighter side like ‘Tooth’ or ‘Floripa.’’ Lyrically intense and poignant with an gloomy end section that is dark and heavy.
An old one; the second song we ever wrote. We wrote the music – built off Ryan’s drum groove – together in our old rehearsal room back in Manchester – at Brunswick Mill in Ancoats. Then I went home and wrote the lyrics/melodies; a really nice inspired, organic creation. The final section of the song with the trumpets came later – “Give me courage, I’ll reward you; we never caught that yellow moon” – I find that bit very cathartic and like listening back to it.
I always think of this song as a little ditty – it’s a short interlude almost. It’s a nice, affection reminiscence of my time at University. It has the overarching “I’m glad it’s all over now” sentiment – but I preferred to look at it through rose-tinted glasses and it’s actually quite affectionate and nostalgic.
Title track of the album and carries through major themes that pop up throughout. A definite longing to ramble rather than settle down is put forward in this song, and it’s fun to play – often our closing live song. What I like most about it are the dynamics. The verses are held back, drums reverting to rim clicks rather than cymbals, this transforms to a big chorus and then a true alt-rock style breakdown to hammer home the point. A wry “congratulations, my love” echoes out at the end.
A real album track and one that doesn’t frequently appear in our live set. I like that lyrically it has got throw back references to the previous tracks, and that the album ends with a big brass section – just like it begins! **Spoiler Alert** – There may be a haunting bonus track at the end of this one, if you know where to look…
‘Congratulations’ by Holy Pinto is out now on Soft Speak Records.