EP Review – Dappled by Holm (2018) (Tough Love Records)
Holm is the solo project (he sings, plays all instruments and mixes all of the tracks) of Danish multi-instrumentalist Mikkel Holm-Silkjaer, who I am only aware due to the frenzied love in that one of our Twitter followers bestows upon another band that he is in, called Urban Achievers.
In this solo project Holm-Silkjaer is far more expansive. Initially the sense of almost ‘reluctant pretty’ that hides behind an echo machine set at the lowest level, that can also be seen on the Urban Achievers output, is still dominant in the last two tracks. Erase and Repeat starts off with an almost countrified resounding riff that quickly morphs into a brilliant background Dunedin Sound homage, with its contradictory warm vocals juxtaposed with the factious guitar work that produces an ultimately beguiling sound.
Similarly the final track and the EP’s lead single, Grow (see below), increases the awareness of the ‘pretty’ in this beauteous juxtaposition and bounces lyrical themes of the angst of young adulthood around multiple jangled riffs, that develop superbly within the context of a track that manifests an almost laconic acceptance at the start and culminates in a definitive pleading sense of despair at the end. It is a track you need to spend some time with as their is no definitive instant appeal, however patience is eventually rewarded.
However it is not all things pretty that provide the most memorable moments on this EP. These moments relate to the first two tracks which marry the unconventional song structures of the better moments of the Meat Puppets (or in the case of the Dappled introduction, which is 45 seconds of reverb, the crazier moments of Devo) to the sort of nervous energy and dry clanking guitar riffs that typified The Feelies better work. All of which is contradicted by the warmth of the vocals, with the EP’s true stand out Dappled (see below) being the most typical of the heights to which the EP reaches.
Dappled is undoubtedly the sound of Mikkel Holm-Silkjaer enjoying his music without the restrictions that are naturally imposed by being in a band…it most certainly suits him.