Emanating from the city of brotherly love, The Holy Mess are bringing melodic, yet aggressive, punk to the forefront and are reaching more ears than ever with their self-titled, and first, release on Red Scare Industries. If you haven’t heard of this band yet (as I hadn’t), it’s like a starter kit for awesomeness. This album combines both of the band’s previous releases, the 2009 EP, Dismount, and three song 7” released last year, Benefit Sesh, along with two brand new tracks. For those already familiar with The Holy Mess who are worried they’re shelling out hard-earned cash just to hear the same songs with only two new ones tacked onto the end to keep them salivating, fear not: the sequencing provides an evenly interspersed mix of the older material, with new songs “World Renowned Bonafide Shitshow” and “Cigarette Reflections” packed right in the middle of this tasty meal. Plus, you get cover art that shows a braying donkey on stilts stumbling through a field of melting ice cream cones with the band’s name hazily-emblazoned in the sky. It’s pretty bitchin’.
As my esteemed editor and Internet Overlord, Johnny Machine, said about The Holy Mess, “It’s not that first listen; it’s that second and third that hook you in like a trout in a worm farm.” Well, call me hooked and full of worms. While the music, at times, contains an unbridled spasticity, each song retains a strong sense of melody. Sometimes it’s hard for a band’s energy to translate onto record but I can feel the unbridled ebullience coming from The Holy Mess and expectantly look at my stereo to see if it’s started dripping sweat. The way the songs have been arranged provide a well-paced flow; my ears eagerly devouring the next track while clinging to the choruses and taut musicianship I’d just heard.
Like a roof on top of a house, the interplay between the two vocalists caps off the foundation laid by the band and completes the structure. There’s a certain immediacy found in both their growled vitriol and optimistic outbursts so that, whether trading lines or harmonizing, the vocals drive themselves into your brain until you have to listen to the songs over and over again to learn the words and join in on the fun. Lyrics like “That’s the conversation in my head right now/About fucked things that can’t be changed and all those things we have to live without”, from “Goodbye 3713 (Must’ve Been a Good One)”, deserve to be shouted, possibly while shirtless, by throngs of people in front of the stage clamoring to get closer to the microphone.
These are four really busy boys, touring with the likes of The Menzingers, The Flatliners, Off With Their Heads and Dead to Me, so let’s hope they get in some studio time to release a full-length of all new material for Red Scare. Now that I know about them and have conveniently consumed the majority of their catalog in this one, handy release, I eagerly await further proselytizing from The Holy Mess.
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* Stream 3 songs from The Holy Mess – S/T below
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