Vänersborg in Sweden, the hometown of Holmes, has got the nickname “little Paris” from its probably most famous offspring, the poet Birger Sjöberg, who thought that both cities resemble each other quite a lot. Listening to Holmes I’d rather think it would resemble the saddest parts of Wyoming or Idaho.
Holmes combine American rural songwriting tradition with some indie and an overall Scandinavian melancholy. The record sounds like a long, snowy winter night spent with strangers united in loneliness in the bar of a truck stop somewhere far off major cities. The songs are driven by an ultimate sadness that somehow still manages to have positive overtones. The shared vocals of Kristoffer Bolander and Betti Velickovic remind of classic old time vocal harmonies while music could be described basically as slow indie pop played by a band with a country and western line up. You get to hear steel guitar, mandolin, piano and accordion along with the usual guitars, bass and drums played very softly.
There has been very vague plans for me to play a show with them once that didn’t work out for several reasons. After having heard this record I totally hope that one day it will happen. This is really and honestly an excellent album.