All Hail the Gaze with Holy Ship’s New Single
Holy Ship’s new psych-rock-shoe-gaze single, Hale Haze, is a raucous reminder that there is beauty in chaos, if you know how to tame it. A song with a deep, deep groove and wide, brave melodies, Holy Ship’s Jonatan Westh has blended the musical elements with the skill of an Alchemist to give us a track that would not have be out of place at Manchester’s (in)famous Hacienda Club. But while it is eerily familiar, it’s in no way revivalist, giving us a fresh, modern take on what is one of the great musical genres.
The first thing that hits you when you spin this track is the groove. The drums and bass create a backbone for this song that is just so damn danceable and, aside from a brief breakdown in the second verse, they carry it the whole way though with a ‘I’ve just quit a shit job’ swagger.
But, while any song can groove, what makes Hale Haze so good is the contrast between what’s happening rhythmically and what’s happening both harmonically and melodically. Above the diamond sharp bedrock of rhythm, the guitars, vocals and synths combine into something that is both a tonally beautiful and harmonically satisfying. Westh’s vocals contribute to this in no small way, with his range, both in pitch and tone, being applied with great effect.
The production on this track harks back to nineties shoegaze but is far less derivative than I initially believed. If anything, it would be described as modern psychedelia, with some definite cues taken from Kevin Parker’s (Tame Impala) production style. With phaser on the drums and a reverb tail longer than a summer day in Stockholm, I’m sure this track would fit very nicely into any psychonaut’s playlist. If one were to accidentally eat some ‘special’ mushrooms and listen to this track I’m sure they would find some very fun sonic corners to nestle in to.
What Holy Ship have done here feels very familiar. One of the reasons I love it so much is because it reminds me of something. But it’s something I can never put my finger on. Just as I think, ‘that’s the band they sound like!’, I listen again and realise they are nothing alike.
I also think they would be incredibly good live. The beats, the bass lines, the impenetrably thick tones of the guitars… this is an eyes closed and get lost kind of act. One that would be worth travelling to see. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for any announcements.