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(Older reviews archived alphabetically by artist name.)

  Manic Expressive  
  Her Space Holiday  
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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 work.

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 do.

Related Links:
  Her Space Holiday live at The Earl in East Atlanta on Sat.2.Feb.02.  

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