Holy – All These Worlds Are Yours album review
Swede dreams up a work of genius.
It’s rare that a new album genuinely sends you reeling within seconds, but Stockholm’s Hannes Ferm has conjured up an epiphany of sound which makes you giddy with its shimmering loveliness. He may be labelled as “ambient wave”, but there are thrilling oceanic quakes within this wash of euphoric elegance. You’ll recall the first time you heard side two of Abbey Road, peak-era Spiritualized, Mercury Rev and Flaming Lips and perhaps that time you heard Cocteau Twins after a funny cigarette. At times you can only stand back and admire; at others Ferm’s commitment and falsetto innocence insists on full emotional engagement. It’s a concept album about alienation in the city, so much so that its maker barely left his underground studio or saw daylight. HOLY’s previous, Stabs, only hinted at these heights. And while it’s inspired by arty, glammy, theatrical music of the past, he’s created something that sounds like the shiny, part-seductive part-sinister future. From the exultant hairpin turns of Premonition/It Shines Through to the nine minutes of guitars, pianos and voices which form the serene shriek of the title track, this is a world of ice, fire and discovery.