Holy Fuck - Latin Album Review
One casual mention of the name Holy F*ck will undoubtedly conjure up images of four heavily tattooed blokes with long hair screaming satanic obscenities about Jesus. Indeed, there's a good chance their name has already put off many a record buyer no doubt intrigued by both their moniker and plethora of positive reviews bestowed on second album 'LP' three years ago. Without meaning to sprinkle urine over one's French Fries any longer, such disdain would simply amount to being their loss, as without any shadow of doubt this Canadian four-piece represent a new-found intensity sadly lacking in dance music or any of its previous rock-orientated sub-genres.
Whereas 'LP' and its choice cuts 'Super Inuit' and 'The Pulse' led the way in re-energising the way beats and guitar shapes could be configured to work in harmony along with the likes of Battles, 'Latin' seems to take more of an electronic passage away from the confines of the rock arena back into those of a sweaty club. For the most part, it pays off, although one of Holy Fuck's most potent facets hinged upon the ferocity of their live show, something 'LP' captured to perfection. 'Latin' however seems to be more about exorcising their studio demons, something that becomes more apparent when reading through the A-List of engineers and mixers credited for their input here. Dave Newfold, renowned for his work with Broken Social Scene, Dave Sardy (Nine Inch Nails, Manic Street Preachers and a host of others), Eli Janney (The Rapture, Wilco, and er, James Blunt) and esteemed British boffin Paul Epworth (Bloc Party, Maximo Park, Friendly Fires) all lend their considerably gifted hands to 'Latin' alongside the band themselves. Guitarist/effects wizard Graham Walsh certainly takes a large part of the credit here for the way the record sounds, but make no mistake, the contributions of all the aforementioned is what makes the album distinctly palatable in its own right.
While the eerie strains of four-minute long intro '1MD' don't really tell an accurate story of what is to follow, the propulsive 'Red Lights' and super-charged beats of 'Latin America' both resonate with an edginess that ultimately unites clubbers and gig-goers as one, while the scrawny lo-fi of 'SHT MTN' could be the definitive point where games console entertainment meets the music industry head on. Better still is 'Silva & Grimes', the album's midpoint and undoubted standout that takes all the best bits of Holy Fuck's career so far and moulds them into one big cataclysmic melee. Delve even further into 'Latin''s darkest realms and you'll discover the sound of broken glass being convoluted by Air (the band not the substance) on 'Stilettos', while closing effigy 'P.I.G.S.' reminds us why we fell in love with The Chemical Brothers all those years ago round the time of 'Exit Planet Dust', Holy Fuck's rhythm section of Matt Schulz and Matt McQuaid giving messrs Simons and Rowlands a run for the money in the block rocking stakes.
As with anything, there'll be the odd detractor that may accuse Holy Fuck of conforming safely into their own niche rather than extending the rawness of their noise-infused performances on record, and while 'Latin' is a somewhat cleaner affair than any of the quartet's previous releases, its no lesser document of a band still finding their feet yet perversely years ahead of their time. Enjoy the ride, however long it may last.