Like the adjective 'existentialism', the term 'post-punk' has acquired myriad meanings and applications over the years, each evoking a different shade and tone. For many, post-punk is the Mancunian dirges of Joy Division or the liminal, transitional territory covered on Wire's "Pink flag"; for others it's the jagged edges of Gang of Four, the howling desolation of The Fall, or the playful, intricate compositions of Orange Juice. At the end of most civil conversations revolving around the concept of post-punk, often an agreement is reached that while the genre's most influential records may not sit neatly beside each other, "you know it when you hear it."
With Holograms' debut full-length, this consensus seems rather apt. The record has a wonderful, sprawling scope, echoing (and occasionally distancing itself from) a number of post-punk's most highly lauded members, yet the album deftly evades pigeonholing. What Stockholm's Holograms accomplish in their thirty-eight minute romp is more than enough to allow them to be judged not on their influences, but on the construct the members themselves have created -- a dark, eerily beautiful soundscape of razor wire thin guitars, eddying synths, and sung-spoken vocals; all held together by a spine of heaving bass and colossal drums.
Opener "Monolith" sets the tone -- the first third of the composition a slow burn before the inevitable eruption -- and the two stand outs, for me at least, "ABC City" and "A tower", effortlessly prove that even thirty plus years on from "Unknown pleasures" and "Pink flag" there is still so much left to be said using the post-punk lexicon. "A tower" is particularly noteworthy, easily slipping between chaos and clarity, between violence and introspection, fusing the song's elements into far more than the sum of its parts -- precisely the transcendent quality that drew me to punk and post-punk in the first place. In a few words, "Holograms" is brilliant, proving not only the resilience of a genre, but demonstrating that there is ground still to be covered and territory left to be claimed within its unsettled peripheries.
- Lars Garvey Laing-Peterson