Holy Fuck – ‘Latin’
Young Turks/ XL 2010
LP (gatefold with bonus CD) / CD (Bonus Tracks) / Download.
1. 1MD (4:08)
2. Red Lights (3:48)
3. Latin America (4:44)
4. Stay Lit (3:19)
5. Silva & Grimes (5:13)
1. Sht Mtn (2:51)
2. Stilettos (3:55)
3. Lucky (4:10)
4. P.I.G.S (6:02)
Bonus CD ‘Positive Ghost’ (Vinyl version, CD/Download may have different track list).
1. Grease Fire (4:42)
2. Positive Ghost (4:25)
3. Dr. Dr. E (3:10)
4. Jungles (3:40)
Brian Borcherdt – Keyboards and effects.
Matt McQuaid – Bass.
Matt Schulz – Drums.
Graham Walsh – Keyboards and effects.
Michael Barth – Horns on ‘Positive Ghost’.
Shaun Brodie – Trumpet on ‘Stay Lit’.
Brad Kilpatrick – Additional drums on the bonus CD.
Produced by Graham Walsh.
Artwork – Bjorn Copeland.
Photography – Mikael Gregorsky.
Art Layout/ Design – Holy Fuck with James Mejia.
With an album title like ‘Latin’, and a single entitled ‘Latin America’, you could mistakenly assume that our more coldly acclimatised Canadians had decided to journey south to sunnier climes, hoping to soak up some carnival atmosphere and rays.
Holy Fuck have however hidden any obvious allusions or references to this continent under a sea of cleverly produced contextualised layers, which barely betray any particular musical heritage to any region, or draw any apparent social and political conclusions specific to both central and south America.
Instead, that same anarchic knob twiddling tsunami of effects and thumping rhythm section yet again prevails, but there is now a renowned sense of sophisticated and controlled production, not found on their previous two self-titled albums of 2005 and 2007.
This isn’t however to say that there’s been a toning down, rather a play towards a more mature sound, but don’t worry they still have all the artillery fired up and ready.
‘Latin America’ has a whole host of individuals mixing the tracks, including D.Sardy (LCD Soundsystem to Nine Inch Nails), Eli Janney (GusB and Wilco) and Dave Newfield (Broken Social Scene), all lending their own distinct mastering skills into the rich melting pot, without upsetting the general mood and themes.
The album begins with the gentle stirrings of ‘1MD’, which sounds like a lost soundscape from the last Fuck Buttons record, with its ethereal indolent build and chainsaw distorted sizzling background synth lines, that creep over a low droning caustic bass.
Our opening tome falls between the doom of Earth and the ambience of Richard James ‘Ambient Works Vol.2’, producing a rather haunting introduction that almost sounds alien to the rest of the album.
‘Red Lights’ soon picks up the tempo, as Holy Fuck unlock their funky alter ego, unleashing some pulsating bass lines and cascading oscillating melodies that bounce around in an effortless display of intense grooving and impromptu fun.
The 8 – bit games console opening of ‘Latin America’ turns a chorus of static into some more of those slippery funked up infectious rhythms.
Heavy doses of flange and delay play out over those signature HF crisp drum breaks, as the melody briefly alludes to some Peruvian mystical mountain range, with rattling percussion and disguised vestiges of panpipes.
Another pumped up beating of a track is the pounding driven ‘Sht Mtn’, which sounds like an interesting encounter between Soulwax, Mr.Ozio and a jittery Cut Chemist. Seriously kicking hip-hop drums meet rousing filtered vocal samples to produce an impressive high Richter scale reading, shaking behemoth of a tune – possibly one of their finest.
Some of these instrumentals lean heavily towards TV and film soundtracks, ‘Stay Lit’ sounds like some theme to a serious 80’s documentary on Biblical texts, as Bloc Party perform an optimistic appraisal of Sunn O))) greatest misdemeanours.
‘Jungles’, which is included on the bonus CD, gives ‘Rocky’ a more menacing and broody working over, before unleashing copious amounts of echo and soul shattering reverb.
The loaded connotations of the track ‘P.I.G.S’, takes a 70’s thriller on a ketamine fuelled break neck car chase across San Francisco, taking on Lalo Schifrin and dragging him through a cluttered tunnel of wallowing modulators.
The rest of the album flirts with the dynamics of Krautrock’s finest Neu!, especially on the track ‘Silva & Grimes’, which takes the motorik drumming of Klaus Dinger and the glitchy riffs of Michael Rother to a new extreme – re-inventing the ‘Hallogallo’ blueprint for the umpteenth time this decade.
Waves of rather aloof sounding twitchy synth effects whirl around or bubble under, played out to a keen Teutonic groove, climaxing with a string of punctuated crescendos of unremitting noise.
It must be said that drummer Matt Schulz holds the entire album together, his timing and often moody rhythm section remains constant, allowing both Borcherdt and Walsh to hunch over their mission control landslide of leads and taped together preposterous foot pedals assemblage, to let loose some totally unforgiving sonic blasts.
McQuaid lays down some workman like bass lines, the sort you can skip along, occasionally allowing himself some intricate flourishes of noodling and free form escapism.
Essentially they produce improvised cannons of quite interesting dance music, without the use of loops and programming, for those who consider themselves too grown up for clubs.
Holy Fuck of course have plenty of fun along the way, and seem to be creating the kind of noisy experiments that fundamentally pleases them first, with the audience coming second, as if merely present as voyeurs or even interlopers.
‘Latin America’ is a gradual move away from their last two outings, with the band progressing towards a more openly cultivated, calming and worldly sound, yet still relishing in floor shaking exercises when needed.