Boomkat Product Review:
One for the believers; Holy Other returns with a loooong awaited slash mythical 2nd album, one decade since his singles and debut LP for Tri Angle dominated our lives circa the short lived but influential w*tch house epoch.
‘Lieve’ is the first sign of life from Manchester’s David Ainley, aka Holy Other, since his debut album dropped in 2012 and he promptly appeared to exit stage left, leaving practically no trace of action, save for a 2017 credit on Cashmere Cat’s ‘9’, over the interim. It’s fair to say the legacy of those early records left a big impression with many of us, and would surely influence - whether explicitly or by osmosis - everyone from Andy Stott to AYYA, Space Afrika, Croww, Koreless and DJ Lostboi with his brand of bittersweet electronic blooz, which helped define that era alongside the work of peers such as Evian Christ and The Haxan Cloak. Those latter two have gone on to score Hollywood movies and produce for major rappers, but Holy Other has kept his powder dry ’til now, with lockdown possibly nudging him to reprise that uncannily affective brand of emotional punishment with tear jerking potential.
We’re not gonna lie; the instant gratification of Holy Other’s immaculate 2011 calling card ‘Touch’ has seen us thru some tough times, becoming a real go-to when you just need to feel something, anything. While there’s perhaps no equal to that tune here, ‘Lieve’ feels to better refine its intensely emotive effect to a more slow release appeal diffused across its 10 tracks of instrumental isolationist chamber pop modernism. Between the foggy onset of opening vignette ‘Dirt Under Your Nails’ and the trembling synthetic jaws of its closer ‘Bough Down’, his music has clearly lost none of its capacity to evince strong feelings, taking on an intimately cinematic arc from he skin-tingling developments of the title track, thru harpsichord licks recalling Æ’s ‘Dropp’ in ‘Absolutes’, and the self-evident ‘Heartrendering’, with exquisite, tintinnabulous sound design on ‘Whatever You Are You’re Not Mine’, and gorgeous sorts of post-rave hymnals in ‘Groundless’ and ‘Refuse’, and delivering that surefire piloerect effect on ’Shudder.’