[22 June 2009]
On their debut, Dallas trio Here Holy Spain passionately fuses three strains of rock and roll: the heavier, more insistent side of the indie scene, more traditional, straight-ahead punk (“Same Vein”), and edgy yet accessible rock a la Foo Fighters or Queens of the Stone Age (“Chasing the Chaser”). Each of the album’s ten songs is delivered with an immediacy, an earnestness and an energy that augments the band’s skill and amplifies the strength of their presence.
Standout tracks include in-your-face opener “Trouble Is”, the blistering title cut, the pleading “Fix Me”, and the aforementioned “Chasing the Chaser”. Manic is certainly a team effort; there are no out-front stars here, as each member of the trio makes a significant contribution. Patrick Ethan’s drumming is superb, marked both by consistency and wicked fills, bassist Erica Guagliardi adds depth and urgency, while vocalist/guitarist Wes Todd shows an understanding of the give-and-take between raw, visceral emotion and melodic sensitivity both in his riffs and vocals. Manic is a great first album and, unlike some debuts, doesn’t suggest that Here Holy Spain is on the road to relevance. It shows they’re already there.