Academy Songs, Volume I, Holopaw’s Misra Records debut, takes the band to never-treaded levels. Through three records and a collaboration with Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock (Ugly Casanova), frontman John Orth has honed his gift for lyricism, storytelling, and delivery. Now, backed by a variant possessing uncanny chemistry (complete with identical twin brothers), we’ve been graced with an unparalleled, breathtaking Holopaw album.
Over a ten-song cycle, the close quarters of an all-boys preparatory academy, and the world beyond its “ivied walls,” become the sites of devotion, betrayal, communion (or near-communion), and abject loneliness. The joys and thrills and dangers of both discovery and transgression are detailed. “The rising and falling of their little lives” is illuminated in stunning imagery.
Hips to hips and knees to knees / the heaving hills / the swollen seas / the hollows and the frozen peaks. / Fingers smell of tangerines. / Slow curve rivulets / the see-see-sawing of our breaths / the loamy, sticky in-betweens / the ticklish bubbling underneath.
The album maps, rather vigorously, the physical and emotional terrain of its young characters’ lives. Throughout, it finds them both reveling together and exiled from one another.
Golden sparklers / flares lobbed into the dark / fountains of embers / sucked into the night. / Wipe the sweat from the window to watch the firework display. / Roman candles arched over the lake.
The boys had all been sent to the far side of the lake / one held back until the fever breaks / sweating through his nightshirt / orchids curling into bloom / volunteer sleeps in the corner of the room / “Pardon me, sir. Sorry to wake you.” / “Respectfully, I say, this fever is not breaking.” / “There’s a war I’m steady losing on the far side of the lake” / “to a little dark horse who’s steady rising through the ranks.”
Jeremy Scott drove his Civil Defense Studio d...[more]