Oh, Glory. Oh, Wilderness
[Rating: 3.5 stars]
With over fours years separating their sophomore and third releases, fans are certain to wonder what Holopaw has been up to. Besides losing all but their key songwriters and leaving their label (SubPop), they have been crafting a beautiful little pop album. While their self-titled debut succeeded in featuring the unconventional paring of earthy acoustic and spacey synth/electronic elements, 2005’s Quit +/or Fight intentionally mixed the two styles more seamlessly. On their latest, Oh, Glory. Oh, Wilderness, Holopaw adds gentle string arrangements to the mix, largely abandons the quirky electronic flourishes, and opts for electric guitars and drum kits over acoustics and drum machines. The album does manage to maintain Holopaw’s signature sound, due largely in part to the emotional quivering delivery of John Orth’s poetic lyrics. Like its predecessors, Oh, Glory, succeeds in its restraint. Songs like “Little Stallion with a Glass Jaw,” and “The Cherry Glow,” slowly build from a hushed whisper to a more exuberant exclamation, but just as the listener is comfortable at this plateau, he is gently but steadily brought down to the valley. While not particularly revelatory or groundbreaking, Oh, Glory is a solid pop album and a welcome return from a long hiatus.