PREMIERE: Holy Oak Toasts Vampires, Doctors, and Past Lovers on “Second Son”

Taken from the album of the same name, out June 9.

Neil Holyoak probably doesn’t actually know any vampires—though as someone who’s spent considerable time in Montreal, maybe does—but whatever the case, his song “Second Son,” from his forthcoming album of the same name, unwinds with a natural and intimate grace that may make you think twice.

That’s partly owing to the production of Howard Bilerman, who’s worked with Arcade Fire and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and who made Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker sound like it was recorded from deep within the singer’s chest. But it’s also thanks to the performance of Holyoak (who records under the name Holy Oak), and the strength of the song itself. It comes together slowly, as a gentle picking pattern that softly blossoms under his voice. He toasts a motley assortment: doctors, pirates, grandmothers, the aforementioned bloodsuckers, all of it delivered in a in a spirit of camaraderie that’s flecked—just barely—with mourning. “Here’s to the lovers who took my heart,” he sings, “And gave it back.”

Second Son is out June 9 via Holyoak Music, but you can give the title track a spin below.

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