II by Holy MonitorRelease date: October 12, 2018
What is it with Greeks and psych music? Are psychedelics hitting their shores via waves and seashells, or what? This is about the fifth Greek psych band I’ve had a chance to encounter this year, and they all seem to have inhaled, drank or eaten some form of the genre or other and it seems to flow through their veins as some natural element.
Holy Monitor and II, their inventively named second album, just go to prove the point. And while the name of the album is nothing to write home about, the music on the album actually is. Starting out as a dual guitar attack duo sometime in 2015, by this album the band has grown into a quintet, expanded by a rhythm section and keyboards (Stefanos Mitsis, guitar, George Nikas guitar/vocals, Alex Bolpasis bass, Vangelis Mitsis keyboards, and Dimitris Doumouliakas drums).
What we get on two is all the classic psych elements, as digested through that brilliant late Eighties XTC experiment under The Dukes of Stratosphear moniker, and the long-time Nineties psyches Dirty Flowers. The guitar sound dominates, with one constantly keeping that fuzz flame alive and the other throwing riffs all over the place, the keyboards (basically your Hammond/Farfisa setup) giving it an extra punch.
Do the tracks on the album (‘Cirrus”, a perfect example) sound familiar? Oh yes! But then, is that a problem? Certainly not! Holy Monitors have digested all the classic psych elements so well that these have become a true part of their musical personality, and these guys are able to present their personality so well on this album. Oh, by the way, they really know how to play too, so no misgivings there either.
Some would complain that Holy Monitor needs a bit more originality, but when the old psych elements are put in place so well, who cares? After all, didn’t somebody say that repetition is a mother of invention? It might come, but then, it doesn’t have to…