Holy Fuck, “Congrats”

Holy FuckHoly_Fuck-2016-Congrats
Congrats
INNOVATIVE LEISURE
7/10

Tinkering electronic soundsmiths Holy Fuck return from a six-year absence with the rollicking and raucous Congrats. The band has always managed to thwart expectations, and their latest is certainly no exception. We are thrown into these songs with blissful confusion: psychedelia is thoroughly deconstructed via makeshift riffage and relentless percussion, smattering vocals disappear into billowed reverb, and sugary hooks hide inside hazy electronics. Congrats is a warped celebration recalled in fragments, where faltering rhythms spawn a world of sonic bewilderment. The album seems to arrive in a format unrestored, tarnished and tattered, unraveling from an orchestra of whirligigs.

On lead single “Tom Tom,” a driven beat grows fuzzy with distortion. Slurred and snarled lyrics ricochet between eight-bit guitar chords; consider it post-synth-punk. Opener “Chimes Broken” slowly boils into an eruption of high-hats. Pumping analog is paired with primal drums for “Shivering,” as female vocals soar through some corroded canyon. “Xed Eyes” is decidedly danceable, even if the chorus is murky and unknown. “Neon Dad” drifts through a melancholic bassline, while “Acidic” paces over vaporous chants. The album is closed with steam-powered indie jangle “Crapture.” Once again, the lyrics are earnest but unclear.

Congrats certainly offers a confounding experience, with all its kaleidoscopic inner workings. But the elemental mechanics are heavily skewed. Songs resemble lost artifacts of sound, rough-hewn and forged in some otherworldly studio. The album almost seems afflicted with a very acute strain of low fidelity, allowing only the brightest and most colorful components to survive. Less comprehensible than 2010’s Latin, Congrats parses an abstract slang of sound. Listeners will revisit the album intently, trying and trying to make sense of these songs.

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