At some indistinguishable point in the last few years, it became du jour for indie bands to step out of the shade of their own affected anguish and shake their wiry, sexless frames on the dance floor, and the musical landscape is better for it. Before you knew it, synths and jaunty bass were dominating and the only awkward and angular things were the elbows thrashing about at shows. Leeds, UK band Holodrum seem custom designed to cause such corduroy mayhem in their debut single, “Free Advice.” Featuring members of such Leeds luminaries as Cowtown, Hookworms, Yard Act, Virginia Wing and Drahla, the manifesto is mostly party-based as a direct affront to the impending doom which constantly tries to put a bummer on everything.
“Free Advice” is a confident opening gambit from Holodrum, showing the tight, scratchy, robust funk unit which has been assembled from the remains of poetry readings in skate parks. New York in the 80s is an iconic time/place combination, and its influence rollerblades all over the track, which sounds like it should be soundtracking any number of debaucherous acts at Warhol’s Factory. Anime, lo-fi and kitsch are slowly introduced to the disco-funk habitat and round it all up with a pixelated bow on top. To put it another way, “Free Advice” sounds like a video game recreating Debbie Harry’s early career which is only available on a rare Game Boy Japanese import.
Beginning with an earworm bassline, the synths are slowly layered up until the brew is heady enough for vocalist Emily Garner to take the helm and make her own coolly dispassionate contribution, encouraging people to dance in the face of adversity in the style of Emma Goldman. There shall be no harshing of vibes or bogarting of energy on Holodrum’s watch, a welcome antidote to the self-conscious existentialist musings regurgitated into the mouths of the anxious masses daily. From the sounds of it, this will be a consistent thematic emblem to the group’s work going forward, particularly when their debut album drops on February 25. Those expecting a casual DIY dance riot will surely be pleased and will hopefully dress practically for the occasion.