Review || Holding Absence - "The Greatest Mistake Of My Life"

 Holding Absence return with their sophomore full length, "The Greatest Mistake Of My Life", on April 16th. Be warned; upon the first spin, it becomes very clear the album is not for the faint hearted. 

It's safe to say that, even though the singles left very little to the imagination as to what the atmosphere of the album would be like, the end result wasn't spoiled. "The Greatest Mistake Of My Life" is emotionally charged even in its upbeat moments. As expected, not all songs will hit the same but the intensity of some could be potentially overwhelming. Whether we talk about the powerful exclamation "I'm Alive!" ("Celebration Song"), the agony that feeds the distorted vocals ("nomoreroses") or the outright heartbreaking post rock nuances ("Mourning Song"), the common denominator is always the invocation of deep emotions. And despite everything, the songs are not anthems of depression. Understandably the title may create biases towards the album content but at its very core, it's very human and, like humans, the songs appear anchored in reality, follow and develop through the ebbs and flows of life and relationships. 

What I really like on TGMOML (you missed long titles, didnt'you?) is that the instrumentation isn't just a cute riff or melody here and there, waiting for the vocals to add flavor to an otherwise bland composition. On the contrary, all the tracks can stand on their own even without the vocals and still sound equally compelling. A factor adding to that are the strings and occasional piano that casually dress the songs creating a dreamy ambience. The vocals are always on point, leaning heavily on pop punk while Lucas Woodland's tone and dynamics at times remind me of Sam Carter. Another element I found very creative was the title track, a cover from a 1930's song, which closes the album. Almost a minute and a half in length, the delivery is a beautiful balance between music theater vocally and a vintage-sounding arrangement, projected under a gramophone effect. And it actually makes sense in the context of the album.

Overall, "The Greatest Mistake Of My Life" is a very creative effort in true Holding Absence fashion. Its ingenuity lies in the linear evolution of the band and the fact that the songs grow from the baseline that established a musical identity on the first record. It would be very easy for a band to get trapped into a sound that offers very low originality and will go out of trend in a couple of years. However, Holding Absence has produced a refined album that transcends conventional limits and which I'm pretty confident will stand the test of time.

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