HOLIDAY "Holiday" (Wiener Records, 2015)

Matthew Sweet fell through a fuzz box and hit a couple of shoegaze bands on the way. The drums are in my mouth and that synth came from somewhere in the 80s.

Driving rock beats with some seriously gorgeous male voices singing harmonic leads (presumably this is one vocalist, layered.) The fuzzed-out drums, droning organs, and urgent guitar perfectly underline these melodies. In places ("Made by Youth") there's a slightly lunatic slant to that vocal line, and the wheels feel like they might come off once in a while, as on "Weeks Collide" where the drums are threatening to blow up the player.

I'm feeling this pull, a powerful drive here. The songs may occasionally lack a center, a little bit of a style-over-substance problem peaking from around the corner. But there's enough strong material in the album's short playtime that the ebb and flow works.

Both sides start with absolute killer tracks; side 2's "Natural Calm" reminding again of Matthew Sweet, its repeat chorus of "you were here, you're dead, you missed it" laying a dark backdrop for the rest of the side.

There's a little Weezer on side 2, too, albeit with a little bit of David Lynch thrown in, a circus of sound like we might hear coming out of a radiator in a fever dream.

No harm in the obvious shout-out to us oldsters who bought cassettes when the covers looked like this, the little picture of the album cover in a box on a white background. Like finding some forgotten piece of our past in a bargain bin somebody forgot to throw in the landfill in 1991.

Highly recommended stuff here.

-- Kingo Sleemer