Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Holy Fuck - LP

Holy Fuck

Released 2007 on Young Turks
Reviewed by Lord Lucan, 02/12/2007ce

Stick motorik in yer pipe and smoke it!

For all the bands over the last few years who’ve had the word Krautrock repeatedly appear in reviews of their work, none (apart from latter-day Boredoms) come close to Holy Fuck for sheer mind-melting exuberance. Plenty of others may have copped a feel of Damo Suzuki’s red velvet jumpsuit and intellectualised the whole thing, but Holy Fuck have grabbed both Klaus Dinger and Jaki Liebezeit by the bollocks, felt their knees tremble and gone forth to make music for mind AND pants.

This Canadian collective hailing from Toronto use knackered, car-boot analogue equipment and other electric detritus then stick it all through overdriven effects. To quote their Myspace page*: “find something in the trash... plug it in", give it a hefty bass line, then vitally (in both senses) drumming, drumming and more drumming. This description is deceptive though, as the result is not a chaotic mess, but an electric, mantric mind-frazzle that’s as tight as a gnat’s chuff.

They started out with a manifesto to create electronic dance music without computers and samplers. But they’ve ended up producing something that actually defies easy categorization, and certainly isn’t the imitation of House, Electro or any other genre of off-yer-face rave music that their initial starting point suggests. Think Vooredoms or Circle without the prog edge in a shotgun wedding with a Casio VLTone all forced through a mixer with all red warning lights flashing and you’d be closer. ‘LP’ is an album that will have you dancing around like an electrified dervish.

The opener ‘Super Inuit (live)’ may initially sound like another soundtrack to an amphetamine-fuelled ride in a Volkswagen on the Autobahn out of Düsseldorf heading to Cologne but really it’s much more 21st Century than that: More Bullet train ride on crystal meth. I haven’t had the chance to see them live yet, but based on this track and the enthusiastic applause of the audience I’m now desperate to see them next time they’re in my ‘hood. And who has the cojones these days to start an album with a live track? ‘Milk Shake’ then crashes in, initially threatening to turn into a Peaches track, but then its lo-fi electro leanings are leavened with distorted shouting and those killer drums again. All topped with a glacé cherry of a bell-like synth sound. ‘Frenchy’s’ rolls up with a cheap analogue drum sound, which is joined by those huge drums again, and they simply maintain, whilst pushing everything into the red and pummelling the listener into submission. Like the rest of the tracks on this album it manages to achieve the ecstatic build-ups of programmed rave music, but condensed into a three minute track that feels like it’s twice that length. ‘Lovely Allen’ is the prettiest song on the disc, using string sounds and coming on a bit like Sigur Ros if they were put through a rack of distortion pedals and told to shorten-the-hell-up. ‘The Pulse’ uses a simple, er… pulse from a primitive synth with driving drums and bass propelling it forward and upward, as squalls of spacey feedback and a disembodied voice whoosh around, sounding like a mutant rave-up on venus. ‘Royal Gregory’ uses the by-now familiar cheapo drum machine as an intro, supplanted by those monolithic drums as synth sounds of all shades of wrongness tap out a catchy tune, and again distant vocal chanting creates a Wolpertinger of a track: Part pop tune, part ecstatic rave-up. ‘Echo Sam’ suggests Salaryman at their best. Driving drumming (copped the common thread here yet?) with huge dive-bombing synth sounds and distorted monosyllabic shouting. This is what the music on Amon Düül’s ‘Almost Alive’ album SHOULD have sounded like, if the sleeve of that album had actually described with any accuracy the sound of the music within. Alternatively you might be forgiven for thinking you’re listening to a new Boredoms track. After a goofy start ‘Safari’ continues the pummel-athon with a new dab of speed on its gums. Floor-shaking bass and drumming again topped off by burbling, spewing synths all urgently falling forwards and threatening to end up in a tangled heap on the floor. ‘Choppers’ finishes us off with a big bastard bass line and metallic drums whilst malfunctioning synth feedback flanges around. Then it’s all over.

With a name like Holy Fuck, you know this band has a lot to live up to and they do their darndest to earn their moniker. This album has a higher than average quotient of nape-hair-rigid moments. There’s no filler: It’s one rock-solid head-nodder after another. In fact I’ve got neck-ache whilst writing this review. It’s astounding that they manage within the space of a four minute track to create the same euphoria that a techno artist will often take ten minutes to achieve. And like much great music (and in contrast to most quantized programmed music) it always sounds like it could come off the rails at any minute. One more thing: It must be played loud.


If you like this one then the earlier eponymous album is also worth your time. It may not hang together quite as well as ‘LP’ does, and isn’t as driven, but it still pisses all over anything else currently labelled ‘krautrock-influenced’ by any journo who thinks a repetitive drum part is all that’s required.

* http://www.myspace.com/holyfuck

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