Steady Holiday provided one of PopLib’s highlights of 2016 – a fine debut album called “Under the Influence”. Now there’s an EP called “Terror”, an instinctive reaction to the events of 8 November in the US.
This is recognisably Steady Holiday – from the beguiling lighter-than-air voice of songwriter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Dre Babinski, right through to the richly detailed arrangement including the warm nostalgia of syrupy movie-soundtrack strings.
But beneath the carefree surface a menacing synth pulse modulation carries the sense of unease suggested by the title. And lyrics like “bless your children, just don’t come here” and “stay on your side of the line”, which contrast the effortless melodic glide of the song, are a reminder of the language of hateful xenophobia and attempted manipulation of public sentiment against migrants from the 2016 US Presidential election.
“Terror” is the title track of a 5 song EP and the song also has a suitably nightmarish video, which you can view at The Fader.
On a lighter note, Steady Holiday has a strong Instagram game. Consistently creative and frequently hilarious and worthwhile following if you want to keep up with the latest news… like finding out about this new release, which is also, irresistibly, packaged together with the album in a digipack CD.
Here’s my New Zealand Music Month bandcamp purchase for 3 May. Except it isn’t a ‘purchase’ because there is no ‘buy’ option for the digital album. So, we’ll just have to call this an IOU to The All Seeing Hand that I will buy the CD or LP when it is released in June. I’m going to honour that promise, because, well, I would not want to mess with The All Seeing Hand.
They are the most terrifying, intense, visceral and exciting thing I have ever seen and heard, like being in the same room as an alien life-form (not that I have had much experience of that, but I imagine that’s what it might feel like to be both terrified and excited by something you have not experienced before). If you have never seen them live you really ought to experience a performance. The All Seeing Hand consist of a throat-singer, a turntablist and a powerhouse drummer. The album has a few other guests.
The best description I could come up with when I saw then play live and tried to explain them to others was “Klingon death-metal-space-disco” but that’s not the half of it. How else would you describe a track like ‘Clot’ (one of the pieces I remember vividly from when I saw them)?
Simon Reynolds in his book ‘Retromania’ lamented the apparent lack of new ideas and new frontiers in music. He should check out All Seeing Hand. I’ve seen and heard a lot of music over more decades than I care to admit to. But The All Seeing Hand were not from this earth and blew my mind.
So, yes, I’ll be getting the album in it’s physical form. I expect it will be an exquisitely-packaged item too.