We Shall Never Speak by HOORelease date: November 19, 2021
Label: Big Potato Records
HOO is UK artist Nick Holton, with help from members of Slowdive and Beechwood Sparks. His amazing and unique blend of cinematic post rock and psych are stately and exude grace.
This music is unlike anything I’ve heard in recent years. Combine the space rock of Spaceman Three with the dream pop dynamics of Slowdive and you may have an inkling of what this sounds like. But even then, you won’t completely define Holton’s sound. It is achingly lovely in parts.
I am especially keen on ‘The Mighty’, a longform dreamy psych track. ‘Cranium’ is a fine example of Krautrock, and yet, I hear sprightly elements of British folk winding through like a lazy river. I am not sure how it’s possible to transform synthetic machine music into warm tones, but Holton has pulled it off.
I love the magical, mystical tones he creates. ‘We Shall Never Speak Again’ was cowritten by Neil Halstead, and its cinematic beauty will enchant you (vocals do not pick up until around 2:00). Holton has worked before with Halstead and Mark Van Hoen in the excellent Black Hearted Brother.
‘Powder Moon’ would not be out place on a Slowdive record, while the follow on ‘You Changed the Way You Smile’ is more straightforward synth pop. The final ‘Sea of Glass’ is solemn and thoughtful with a serene mien and Holton’s calming voice.
This intriguing record has taken me by surprise, and it’s a late entry for album of the year. Other than Ed Dowie, I cannot think of an electronic artist who impressed me as much this year as Nick Holton. Highly recommended for those who dig cinematic dream pop and Krautrock.