Over the years, there have been many bands we’ve pinned our hopes and expectations of “breaking through”. While some have been and gone without a whimper, others have disappointed. Yet from hearing the self-titled full-length from Holding Absence, you get the feeling the Welsh quintet are on the brink of becoming something special.
Even though “hype” about HA has been high for the best part of a year, the wait for an album has paid off. ‘Holding Absence’ proves to be a cathartic, and at times, empowering collection of rock songs with cinematic results. There are considerably three factors that makes ‘Holding Absence’ a stunning record; its instrumentation, its lyrical ebb and flow and vocalist Lucas Woodland’s delivery.
On past releases, HA have established an effective and bold style. Nevertheless, these 11 songs have sonically taken things to a whole other label. With a more assured lineup, songs such as ‘Like A Shadow’ and ‘Last Of The Evening Light’ thrive with sonic density and adrenaline. Each member gets their chance to shine, especially drummer Ashley Green who dominates on ‘To Fall Asleep’. While guitarists Scott Carey and Chris Smitheram, along with bassist James Joseph, provide a punch to the gut on ‘Monochrome’.
At the centre of it all is the emotional prowess of vocalist Lucas Woodland. and his thoroughly convincing execution. Whether he’s passionately proclaiming “Your love has ruined my life” on ‘Your Love’, or gently advising “dreams die young – so don’t forget to chase them” on ‘You Are Everything’, his delivery pulls you in. The balladic ‘Marigold’ is a fine example of this with its simple, yet haunting, combination of just Woodland’s vocals and a piano.
In addition, Woodland’s words are delivered with complete honesty, allowing you to have an insight into how love has lifted and damaged him emotionally. Entangled with complexity, his lyrics are alluring and efficiently mature; ‘A Godsend’ sees him reflect on his relationship with religion and mental health struggles.
As a body of work, ‘Holding Absence’ sees a young band pushing themselves beyond our expectations with enthralling results.
‘Holding Absence’ by Holding Absence is released on 8th March on SharpTone Records.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)