Holy – All These Worlds Are Yours album review

Swede dreams up a work of genius.

holy band

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It’s rare that a new album genuinely sends you reeling within seconds, but Stockholm’s Hannes Ferm has conjured up an epiphany of sound which makes you giddy with its shimmering loveliness. He may be labelled as “ambient wave”, but there are thrilling oceanic quakes within this wash of euphoric elegance. You’ll recall the first time you heard side two of Abbey Road, peak-era Spiritualized, Mercury Rev and Flaming Lips and perhaps that time you heard Cocteau Twins after a funny cigarette. At times you can only stand back and admire; at others Ferm’s commitment and falsetto innocence insists on full emotional engagement. It’s a concept album about alienation in the city, so much so that its maker barely left his underground studio or saw daylight. HOLY’s previous, Stabs, only hinted at these heights. And while it’s inspired by arty, glammy, theatrical music of the past, he’s created something that sounds like the shiny, part-seductive part-sinister future. From the exultant hairpin turns of Premonition/It Shines Through to the nine minutes of guitars, pianos and voices which form the serene shriek of the title track, this is a world of ice, fire and discovery.

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.