Tue 9th December 2008
So Tim Holehouse, who the hell is he? Well, if you're a regular visitor to this site, you'll know him as the ex-Among The Missing, Soon The Darkness member who swapped screaming with his shirt off for quiet contemplation and acoustic guitars via a world tour last year.
This is an album recorded over the space of about a year at various recording studios and feels like a collection of Tim's more personal songs, and a real step-up from his Codeine-inspired debut "Found Dead On The Shoreline".
What is immediately obvious is the labour of love this album has been for Mr Holehouse, the opening title track springs to life with beautiful strings (apparently arranged for a knockdown price) and a repetitive refrain that opens up the album with a melancholic, yet hopeful frieze.
First track proper is the ever-popular live favourite "Good Morning Mr Vampire" a song inspired by what Tim apparently looks like when sleeping on a sofa, the simple vocal lines and rumbling low notes intone a more serious mood than the story would suggest however.
"Harvest" is a droning, downbeat, workmanlike song delivered with an American drawl and some swift finger picking, finished off with a vocal loop that brings to mind a vast openness and black skies.
The intensely personal "Everyday, you" comes next with great bottleneck sweeps and hurt-blues lyrics, bringing forth Tim's love of the legendary Michael Gira of Swans.
Every track here sounds like it has a different influence, which has always been a mark of Tim's, the nine-minute epic of "Rhinestone" has a latter-day Earth vibe to begin with, whispered vocals and a soft country guitar style belie what the track turns into, an almost shoegaze-esque wall of delay and yammering keys that builds to an understated crescendo.
Elements of Sigur Ros creep in for the beautiful "Sensory Lullaby" its strings and upbeat delivery are a welcome break in the mood of the album, feeling like a journey, or to suggest a theme for the album, the course of a day.
Naomi Hate Humans, a good friend of Tim's joins him for an alt-country tale of accusatory murder which works in every way you could want, film noir-like lyrics and a line in blues guitar that works perfectly within this particular genre parameter.
Muted trumpet echoes the subtle folk lines laid out in "Spiked Humour" that plays in stark contrast to lyrics that seem to express a state of desperation or woe.
Piano courtesy of Brian Inglis, mind behind the strings on the album, underpins a further track of depressed yearnings in "Searching For.." before the upbeat album closer "Lamb To The Slaughter" which is perhaps Tim's finest moment on the release, downbeat in a resigned way, but the most uplifting track on offer here.
Warm guitar and passionate lyrics are kicked out under a full band setup, including 9hz's own Jack Dickinson and Lindsay Williams who come together to create a fantastically varied song, melancholy one moment, celebratory the next.
All in all, this is an album that deserves an afternoon to take in, such is the varied nature of the release, but its an afternoon that will take you through all Tim has to offer, from the dour to the euphoric, the production values here are of an incredible standard and both lyrics and instrumentation shine through to such an effect that you can mark this down as being a success for Mr Tim Holehouse, the "sequel" or companion album to follow soon on a vinyl-only format is the darker and more soundscape-inspired "To The Howls At Midnight" should see the light of day next year, which should prove an excellent companion to an already fantastic album.