Germany’s HOLYGRAM explore great depths on their debut album

HOLYGRAM released their debut album on Nov. 9 and are currently on a North American tour. l Cover photo by: Ville Andersson
HOLYGRAM released their debut album Modern Cults on Nov. 9 and are currently on a North American tour. l Cover photo by: Ville Andersson

German post-punk shoegaze group HOLYGRAM brilliantly combine the sounds of the future with past on their debut full-length album Modern Cults.

It’s been two years since HOLYGRAM released their self-titled EP, and buzz about their current album kicked up when they snuck out their singles “Signals” and “A Faction” earlier this year.

Comprised of Patrick Blümel (vocals), Sebastian Heer (drums), Marius Lansing (guitars), Pilo Lenger (synthesizers) and Bennett Reimann (bass), HOLYGRAM was formed in 2015 and are based out of Cologne, Germany. Since releasing their self-titled EP in October 2016, HOLYGRAM has joined British synthpop legends OMD while on their European tour last year, and they have played numerous festivals, including Mailfeld Derby, Wave-Gotik-Treffen and New Waves Day.

They have gained quite the reputation for their dramatic live shows. It is said that they really play up the theatrics, surrounding themselves with mist and sticking to cool lighting. One listen through Modern Cults and it’s easy to picture how mesmerizing such a show would be.

The sounds on the album are a steady stream. There is no break in between the tracks and the melody seamlessly flows from one to the next. It is an album built on audio unity. With themes that focus on big cities, alienation and anonymity, hope and memories, love and identity, and a particular focus on losing the self in a chaotic urban world, this unity of tracks is a brilliant touch.

No track really stands out as you go through the album. Individually they are beautiful and dark, but together they are a larger whole. Still the tracks can be listened to on their own. For instance, “She’s Like The Sun” features fantastic harmonies that have such depth to them it’s hard to not be carried away with the sound. There is that nod to the post-punk sound of the 80s, but HOLYGRAM manages to put their own modern twist on the well known sound.

It is rare for a band to take such care with the layers of interpretation in an entire album like this. That is what makes HOLYGRAM’s music so enticing. And turning music such as this into an enticing live show is a difficult feat. Yet, their reputation would state that they achieve the heights few have even dreamed of striving for.

Modern Cult can be downloaded on HOLYGRAM’s Bandcamp page, and CDs and vinyl are also available from Cleopatra Records.

And don’t miss HOLYGRAM on their North American Tour with electronic giants VNV Nation. Canadian fans will have three chances to catch the live show. They will be playing Corona Theatre in Montreal, Quebec on Nov. 27, Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, Ontario on Nov. 28, and the Imperial Theatre in Vancouver, BC on Dec. 09.

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