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Holopaw: Quit +/or Fight
Holopaw: Quit +/or Fight
Artist Holopaw
Album Quit +/or Fight
Label Sub Pop Records
Released 8/9/2005
Purchase www.amazon.com
It is remarkable that the peerless cohesion so evident on Quit +/or Fight was achieved by such an unlikely gathering of musicians, especially given the fact that they were scattered across the country and rarely in the same room at the same time during this recording process. Holopaw's new album brings each member to more textural, delicate artistic heights—each dynamic track tells its tale through sweet, understated and complexly orchestrated melody that engages as it soothes. On Quit +/or Fight, when universal themes of sexuality, longing and lament are explored through colorful pirates, ghosts, bear cubs and princes with toothaches, in motel rooms and across chilly landscapes swirling with fake snow, familiar questions are answered with fresh conclusions. In a Holopaw song, the boy down the well finds out he’s happier there. Thick with strings, winds, drunken bossanova percussion ("3-shy-cubs"), stomping, handclaps, wine bottles, synths, and thrift store furniture-as-instruments, the album shows a band unafraid of brash creativity and improvisational instrumentation. After all, Quit +/or Fight is all about taking the road less traveled: "Ghosties" showcases the strength of vocalist John Orth, his one-man choir swelling out of nowhere to run with the melody, and later the band's deeply organic, thick fuzz-bass unearths the sweet lament of "Velveteen (All is bright.)." Just when "Losing Light" threatens again and again to burst at the seams, Holopaw pulls back the reigns, quieting the song’s core back into a hush.

To focus these ideas, Holopaw enlisted the help of old friend Mike Pecchio, resident producer at Scandalabra Studios in Brooklyn, NY. The Mercury Program’s Tom Reno and Dave LeBleu contributed guitar and vibes throughout, and on "Curious," Daedelus lends wind. The end result: an improbable group of individuals all coming together to create an album that is quietly moving, filled with small gestures that speak volumes.