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The Holy Family

by The Holy Family

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Desert Night 02:58



VINYL & CD will go on sale on FRIDAY 2 April


released July 2, 2021

A surreal odyssey into dimensions unknown, the debut album by The Holy Family has arrived to bewitch and delight.

The scope of ‘The Holy Family’ - an auditory Rorschach test across thirteen tracks rich in adventure and intrigue - is boundless. It’s an intrepid voyage through soundworlds that takes in all manner of incarnations, as This Heat-esque polyrhythms, spidery zeuhl, oceanic kosmische, blissful Robert Wyatt-via-Talk Talk-esque pastoral and even Lalo Schifrin-esque celluloid-score tension are visited here in search of some greater universal truth. Yet all of these stylistic forays are married with relentless dream logic into one unifying kaleidoscopic vision.

“I guess if I had to try to put it into words it’s my attempt at a musical interpretation of a very trippy and psychedelic murder mystery tale, or otherworldly dream/ hallucination” reflects David J. Smith, the chief architect of this particular hall of mirrors. The aesthetic of The Holy Family evolved naturally via first improvisation and then a very meticulous crafting of the raw material. Recording sessions involved Smith and his cohorts - including longtime collaborators Kavus Torabi, Emmett Elvin, Sam Warren and Michael J. York - retreating to “an old house in the country well stocked with the requisite fine wines and jazz cigarettes” to lay down tracks that were then sculpted into their eventual form by Smith and engineer/mixer Antti Uuismaki, for approval and final overdubs from the rest of the collective.

Lyrical and aesthetic inspiration came from both the magical realism of Angela Carter (whose infamous 1991 short film The Holy Family Album also birthed the band name) and the surrealist art of Dorothea Tanning, with Carter’s reimagining of children’s folk tales and the essence of Tanning’s short novel Chasm: A Weekend (written at the age of 94) finding their way into a phantasmagoric journey which dives deep into elemental and hallucinatory headspaces with magic and menace to spare.

Musically nothing was off limits, starting as the multiple narratives of opener ‘I Have Seen The Lion Walking’ reflect the metaphysical trance states of the album’s narrator, and gathering momentum with the eerie cadences of ‘Skulls, The…’ , imagined initially as a fictional theme to a BBC detective show featuring its title character as acid casualty rather than recovering alcoholic. The circuitous and crooked path of this album takes in heat-haze atmospherics, twisted Beefheart/Dr. John-inspired machinations, dark mantras and febrile incantations on its way to a
revelatory conclusion.

Mercurial and mystical yet charged with primal energy, this is a classic double album as forum for chimerical experimentation - shifting in form and structure every time it travels from the record racks to the stereo, and revealing yet more psychic landscapes with each listen. Submit to its spell, and join The Holy Family.



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