Overall Score: 7/10 Vocals: 9/10 Lyrics: 7/10 Consistency : 6/10 Pros: Great vocal performance | Some incredibly powerful moments with both music and vocals Cons: The ballads really drag things down
There has been a large amount of buzz surrounding Holding Absence over the last few years. Their early singles and split EP with Loathe showed promise and seemed to really win people over. Now it’s their time to show what they are capable of with a full album and prove if they are worthy of all the hype.
For the most Holding Absence is an impressive debut for the band. It captures what people loved about those early singles and shows them expanding their sound a bit more. Holding Absence deliver hugely emotional and anthemic post-hardcore, something they absolutely nail on the opening run of this album. Opener Perish starts with delicate guitars and synths before the band comes crashing in and it really sounds great. And the moment vocalist Lucas Woodland comes in his presence is immediately felt and this is something that he maintains throughout the album.
His vocal performance really is spectacular at several moments on this album. He shows an impressive range being able to deliver softer more vulnerable moments and then immediately switch it up for a huge chorus. Like A Shadow shows off his ability to deliver a massive pop chorus too and is one of the standout tracks on the album. This isn’t just a one man show though as all his band mates deliver some great moments too. Musically the album is at it’s best when it leans towards the more progressive elements within post-hardcore. There are several moments where it all builds to a massive crescendo, such as closing track Wilt that really show what Holding Absence are capable of.
Unfortunately there are also some huge missteps on the album. The presence of ballads is hardly surprising nor is it necessarily a bad thing. But the likes of Marigold and A Godsend are so sickeningly saccharine and are by far the worst moments on the album. Marigold feels so jarring coming off the back of the albums first four songs and really derails the momentum. Musically everything interesting about Holding Absence is stripped away and replaced with just a piano. And as impressive as Lucas’ vocals are his lyrics feel more cliche here. There’s no doubt that Holding Absence could be capable of delivering a great ballads but they really drop the ball with it this time.
Outside of these two tracks there’s little else they get wrong on this album. It does end up feeling a little bit long and does start to drag in the second half. Perhaps if those weaker tracks had been cut it would feel like a tighter package. In terms of lyrics there are quite a few cliches but it all feels sincere and comes from a genuine place that it never drags things down too much. A few more heavier moments could have maybe helped mix things up a bit too as these moments really hit hard when they come in, they just feel a little too rare.
Still this is the bands first effort at a full length and there is plenty to like here. If in the future they can continue to deliver on the best moments then Holding Absence could very well become one of the biggest bands in the UK,So whilst this isn’t quite the world beating album some might have been expecting, it’s still a very promising debut album from a young band who still have all the potential in the world. A couple of really bad tracks do drag it down but when they get it right, Holding Absence show off how great they can be.
Holding Absence is released today, 8th March 2019, on Sharptone Records.