Hailing from Tallinn, Estonia, Holy Motors is a five-piece twang and reverb band consisting of three guitarists (Lauri Raus, Hendrik Tammjärv, Gert Gutmann), drummer Kaspar Kiinvald, and Eliann Tulve on vocals. I first heard about the band when their debut album, Slow Sundown (Wharf Cat Records) was featured as 'album of the day' on Bandcamp. The fiery red album cover and album description caught my interest, and upon first listen, I immediately fell in love with the unique, cinematic sound of Holy Motors.
Slow Sundown is produced by Carson Cox (Merchandise), and was recorded at Brooklyn's Kutch1 Studios while the band was visiting the US on tourist visas. It is one of the most enjoyable 'mood' or 'chill' albums I've come across recently. Slow Sundown couldn't be a more appropriate title for describing this album's eight stunning songs that weave elements of sparse cowboy-western with shoegaze and psychedelic rock, all within a lonely, eerie-at-times soundscape. The sounds, melodies and production conjure up all sorts of disparate parallels across various musical genres: Think David Lynch and Ennio Morricone meet Slowdive. Slow Sundown is the perfect soundtrack to a great, indie movie that's just waiting to be made.
Opening track "Honeymooning" is an easy, smooth, 'total chill' listen - a standout track that is representative of what follows. The tempo and atmosphere evoke the lazy, relaxed vibe of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game." The dreamy "Valley" is slow and sleepy alongside an eerie, lonesome western musical backdrop, in the style of Paula Frazer and Tarnation. Sweet and melodic, "Silently for Me" is arguably the happiest sounding song on the album. The lovely "I Will Try" follows in a musical vein similar to "Valley," with sound and vocals reminiscent of early Medusa-era Clan of Xymox. With its sparse, pronounced guitar string plucks, the delicate "Ghost of Heart" would make a perfect contribution to a Twin Peaks soundtrack. One of my favorite tracks - the eerie, unsettling "Sleeprydr" - evokes images of the Old West, tumbleweeds and sunsets, culminating in an impressive, psychedelic wall of reverb and guitars.
Holy Motors will appear at South by Southwest (SXSW) 2018, and is currently planning several US performances that coincide with the festival. Be sure to have a listen to Slow Sundown, and check out the the director's cut of their official accompanying music video for "Sleeprydr."
HOLY MOTORS "SLEEPRYDR" (Official Video - Director's Cut)