While many bands that opt for a debut EP often release something more akin to demos than a mini-album, some bands have a hit on their first try. The Holds upcoming self-titled EP, is an impressive first outing and it doesn’t take much to get into the music. Mixing their inspirations from artists like James Brown, Otis Redding and Ray Charles into a band that sounds like the Arkells mixed with Band Of Skulls.
The album opens on the fast and smooth “Can’t Go Back,” which mixes great pop sensibility with the band’s R&B inspired sound. Each chorus makes you want to dance more and more thanks to the stellar rhythm section of Justin Wiley and Andre Galamba, as well as the guitar work of Eric Hein. The song hits its high point when it breaks things down for the drum and bass driven bridge, this launches the song into a triumphant final chorus that feels even more lively than the rest.
Things slow down on the grimy blues of “Hold You Tight” whose riff drives the song with the perfect mix of emotion and energy, not dissimilar to something the Black Keys might do. The smooth bass-driven verses lend a cleaner side to the song that makes each dirty riff that much more powerful. The stop-and-go prechoruses and give singer Ryan Setton a chance to drive the song himself. If anything the song’s one shortcoming is how short-lived its solo is, given the blues sound of the song lends itself perfectly to a long passionate solo, The Holds could’ve given it more room to breathe.
“Here and Now” sounds reminiscent of early 2000s rock, mixed with Santana and a lot of blues. The hook has an undeniable sadness to it that the lyrics echo immediately as they kick in. Setton takes control on each chorus here as he cries “You just got to call me” and drives the chorus line after line with his plea. The ending of song is underscored by a subtle but impressive solo from Hein that resolves just as the song ends.
The grimy blues continue on the echo-tinged “Say You’ll Be Mine,” mixing in a longing feeling to the energetic distortion. The added echo adds a mysterious feel to contrastingly quiet verses, keeping it from sounding too similar to “Hold You Tight,” and additional flourish from Galamba’s bass after the chorus is a welcome touch. The flanger-tinged bridge is the emotional peak of the song especially as it hits the drop that sends the song to its finale, showcasing the real song writing chops the band has.
The album closes on the soul-laden blues of “Tired Of Waiting” which adds a powerful organ to the mix. The song excels in its simplicity, Setton’s vocals are showcased as he drives the song and the guitar follows perfectly. The final build of the song provides the only close to a let down on the EP as it feels it is building to climactic solo which instead becomes a final chorus, but it pays off one phrase later when the guitar busts into a powerful overdue solo that closes the album perfectly.
The record is set to release on January 29th.