The Holy Circle return and give the senses a run for their money in a short and bittersweet release.
There are many ways in which a record can pack a punch. It might be misleading to call Sick With Love heavy, because that particular word has a specific meaning within the world of music. Allow me to propose the idea that The Holy Circle‘s latest masterpiece is heavy in a different sense, for it carries a weight hefty enough to make the senses wobble, and at times, the body tremble.
Shoegaze, post-rock, and synthpop are just a few of the genre terms affiliated with music that evokes this feeling, and The Holy Circle manage to engineer a dazzling fusion of all of them in this new outing. Its dense hard content could very well be album-sized, but instead, Sick With Love clocks in at a lean 27 minutes. Nonetheless, you’ll still find it ample duration to feel its depth. It’s all there, just in bite-size format.
Not being one to waste any time in causing a cerebral judder, the six-track EP kicks off post-intro with the track “Free and Young”, a song so bittersweet it might seem more suited to the intense ending to a movie. Failing that, you might typically find a song of this magnitude towards the end of a record, but in this case it’s at the start, and that’s cool. It’s a stunning way to open.
The content of Sick with Love balances out from thereon in, siphoning from the mysterious through to the sombre, and all of it unified under a high-powered dreamy gloss, rendered in the spirit of Julee Cruise, My Bloody Valentine, and many others. Beneath the consistently crisp vocals lies a dense cloud of sound which wobbles in and out of real time. Everything is slightly otherworldly, from the foreboding percussion and the bombastic bass through to the dense guitar tones and ever ominous keyboards.
On the subject of which, the record also possesses a retro synthpop quality, put across by the obvious. The synths operate particularly well in “Lovely One”, but are present from start to finish. It enunciates a three dimensional experience that strives to do that little bit more than the standard traits of ‘warm’ and ‘fuzzy’.
The slow patience of these songs carries a lot of weight, and in turn, they carry a lot of varying feelings with them. Sick with Love is about as deep and intense as one could hope for. It possesses that vintage dream pop haziness with a refined sense of heavy post-rock grit, which makes it a gazey experience not to be taken lightly. The record’s near-orchestral level of production renders the soundscape a multi-layered delve into heavenly rawness. At EP length, it might be a swift ride, but it guarantees to pack a hefty emotional wallop along the way.
The grander Sick with Love gets, the harder it hits. With its electronic, keyboard-heavy outlook, it might be a throwback to the past. Or it might be living in the present, or it might be an eclectic mix of all of the above. In any case you’ll feel its pull, because emotion is the name of the game and this sleek release has more than its fair share.