Holmes is where the heart is

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Musicreviews - JIM CAR­ROLL

DAVID HOLMES The Holy Pic­tures Can­derblinks/Mer­cury Belfast DJ and pro­ducer David Holmes says this al­bum first be­gan to per­co­late back in 1996, af­ter the death of his mother. He wanted to do a record about per­sonal stuff, about his life away from clubs and sweaty venues. But other work got in the way.

Yet through­out all those other projects – artist al­bums (Let’s Get Killed), sound­tracks (Ocean’s 11, 12 and 13) and other asides (The Free As­so­ci­a­tion) – Holmes squir­reled away songs and scraps for an al­bum that didn’t re­ally have a name, a di­rec­tion or an agenda. As his own life changed and he be­came a fa­ther, those no­tions got stronger and stronger. The death of his own fa­ther in 2007 sent Holmes back into the stu­dio with a real sense of pur­pose.

The Holy Pic­tures is Holmes’s fam­ily al­bum. There’s a strongly per­sonal sense of space and time to the con­tents, and it’s ob­vi­ous that Holmes has in­vested huge amounts of emo­tion in th­ese songs and sounds. But it’s also a re­mark­able mea­sure of where Holmes is at as an artist as he ups the ante on his pre­vi­ous bench­marks.

Songs such as I Hear Won­ders and Love Reigns Over Me may shame­lessly pa­rade their Krautrock, Vel­vet Un­der­ground and Pri­mal-Scream-when-they­were-good in­flu­ences, yet Holmes uses knock­out hooks and riffs to reel you in. He’s also singing for the first time on record, apt when you con­sider where th­ese songs are com­ing from. And when Holmes is not singing, he’s com­ing up with in­stru­men­tals and melodies that are haunted, bit­ter­sweet and au­tum­nal.

The Holy Pic­tures is a beau­ti­fully re­alised homage to Holmes’s Belfast, an al­bum with a dra­matic sense of bring­ing it all home again. www.mys­pace.com/davidholmes of­fi­cial Down­load tracks: I Heard Won­ders, Theme/TMC, Love Reign Over Me, The Bal­lad of Sarah and Jack

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