Chris Donaghey
Reviews Editor
September 14, 2006
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Rock Music Reviews
Holy Shit
Stranded at Two Harbors

Besides blessing themselves with one of the more memorable monicers in the music scene today, Holy Shit have put into action their plan to dive into the Animal Collective/Akron Family pool with tunes that mix both the deranged freak-folk aesthetic and hazy classic pop. Some chutzpah, eh? It will take even more of it to refrain from profanity jokes for the remainder of this review.

Anyway, Stranded at Two Harbors couples the eternally quirky Ariel Pink with relative unknown Matt Fishbeck to jam about life, love, sentimentality, and possibly illegal substances. Frankly, it's occasionally hard to tell exactly they are crooning about or where they are coming from. Aside from the transcendent and near-sinister pull of "Written All Over Your Face," one of this year's best songs, the duo heavily indulges in instrumental fuzz which permeates their music with reckless abandon. Songs like "The Castle" and "When You Came Around to Me" are lessons in underproduction that eliminate the expectations of "Written." One can only wonder what luster could be revealed if their dust was wiped clean. They are not disposable but with increasing listens, it becomes strikingly obvious that the lack of gloss on their sonic vessel is one of their selling points.

Holy Shit is not bad; they are merely piecing together the same puzzle as countless others in the genre at the current time. The magnificent summer vibes of "My Whole Life Story" and the hazy jam "New Colors" are meritorious examples of this pair's potential, both teeming with musicality ranging anywhere from the Beatles to the Velvet Underground to, on rare occasions, Cheap Trick. However, those listeners who are familiar with the fuzz pop and neo-folk revivals could easily note the lack of true ingenuity in a couple listens. Goes down easy to the indoctrinated, but it just does not stick after it takes its leave from the ears and the mind. Even those new to this type of music may be put off by its near-calculated nuances. By no means is this Shit, but Holy would be quite generous. In a genre so frequently obsessed with shaking up the status quo and challenging the listener, Stranded at Two Harbors sounds all too comfortable in using cliched methodologies to fit in.

Release date: June 19, 2006
Label: Uunited Acoustic Record Company
Rating: 6.3 / 10

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