Her Space Holiday are, as far as i can tell,
a fully unique band. They combine hushed confessional Emo style
vocals with laptop glitch and funky beats. It's "electro-Emo"
or something like that.
Whatever you call it, their music is catchy and enterataining.
Or maybe i should say "his music", i'm not sure. On
the album the music is credited to a Mr. Marc Bianchi, while
live the band consists of Bianchi and his significant other,
an Asian girl called Keely. I am very unclear if she is part
of the touring band only, or if she contributes to the recorded
catalog as well. Looking at the liner notes, i see that she
does contribute some backing vocals, and yet she is also listed
in the "Thank you" section of the liner notes and
not under the "all songs by" section.
So who knows? I suppose that it isn't really important. The
music is catchy and potent enough to speak for itself.
The music is built on the basis of Bianchi's laptop prgramming.
Strings and big beats feature prominently, but these are mere
backing to the subdued vocals, guitarwork, and energetic keyboard
There are so many songs here that are noteworthy -- in fact
the entire album is good. Well, there is one exception (of course).
In the middle of the album is the track Spectator Sport.
It is an interesting track, but also the song least likely to
make it onto a mix tape for listening in the car. This core
of this song is some sort of recorded interview, where someone
is asking Bianchi about his songwriting. Specifically, this
interviewer is pointing out that all of Her Space Holiday's
songs are about Keely, and how this must be awkward for her,
seeing as she is in the band. This long sample is played over
vocal sweeps, and rather than hearing Bianchi's replies, some
mellow guitarwork is interspersed between the interview bits.
It's very clever, but not particularly catchy.
And writing catchy melodies is Bianchi's real strength. Three
songs in particular stand out from the crowd.
The best of these is Hassle Free Harmony, which follows
immediately after Spectator Sport. Binachi sings and
plays guitar arpeggios over a luscious string melody and some
deep drum riffs. This is not a particularly electronic sounding
song. That is, the drum beats are something that any half-competent
drummer could play on his floor toms, and the string melody
seems simple compared to some that i have heard. However, it
moves along nicely and creates a real happy, light vibe.
Another great track is Lydia, which sounds far more
electronic. Keely and Bianchi sing in harmony, and there is
a sparse keyboard melody. But backing it up are glitchy beats
and wierd computer noises. It sounds like what might happen
if Autechre decided to work with Death Cab For Cutie. And yeah,
it's that good. Eventually Bianchi chimes in with a single chord
played slowly on his guitar, and the strings swell up, the beats
get louder, and the song swells to an energetic toe-tapping
conclusion. Very nicely done.
Another fun electronic sounding tune is The Ringing In
My Ears, which is apparently the "hit" off of
this album. I say that because it is the only song off of this
disc that i hear on Album 88. (Then again, that might be my
own fault for not listening to the radio often enough.) It is
very similar in make-up to Lydia, although the beat
in this one is stronger throughout, and instead of simply swelling
up to a glorious climax, this song descends into a quiet keyboard
bridge, before a horn joins the mix for a groovey jazzy finish.
Those are my three favorites on the album, but as i sit here
and listen to it again as i type this, i want to write about
all 9 songs. I want to mention them all in exquisite detail,
because they are all that good.
Personally, i think that this disc is brilliant. It combines
Indie Pop and Electronica in a stronger fashion than anyone
else has to date. And yes, i am including Radiohead
in my list of "others" here. I think that Her Space
Holiday have created a mellow and highly listenable album that
entwines glitch and Indie into one incredible mix. There is
none of the harshness and "rave sensibilities" that
infested Kid A here. Instead, you
have a smooth and interesting disc that rewards repeated listening.
And i suppose that you could still shake your booty to the
funky beats, if that was something that you were inclined to