Volume 96, Issue 68
Thursday, January 30, 2003

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CD REVIEWS: Holopaw
Thom Yorke sings the blues

Holopaw
S/T
Sub Pop Records



RUNDOWN: Holopaw's debut record brings a tranquil, but commercially unviable, sound to the stage. The five-strong band is a product of Gainsville, Florida, where they have been playing for the past three years. Frontman John Orth's hauntingly familiar vocals complement the stripped acoustic arrangements and fading keyboard pulses that Holopaw constructs.

KEY TRACKS: Although the album is unremarkable as a whole, "Hoover" is a standout track. On a record that at times seems boldly under-produced, "Hoover" provides the perfect mix of fading keyboard arrangements, harmonizing rock elements and Orth's honest vocal delivery. "Abraham Lincoln" and "Pony Apprehension" are beautiful in their simplicity. "Cinders" serves as a piercing instrumental assault, with inharmonious blaring horns.

SOUNDS LIKE: Orth's vocals have been acclaimed on the grounds that he truly sings, like the Thom Yorkes of the industry. However, musically, an association with Radiohead would be grossly inaccurate. Holopaw's sound is fundamentally more bluesy, perhaps even with a hint of country. More accurate comparisons might be drawn with Train, and oddly enough, at times Orth's tone seems to strike similar chords with the Tragically Hip's Gord Downie.

–Anthony Lafratta

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2002 THE GAZETTE