It was a brisk March evening in Buffalo, and Yesterday Vs. Tomorrow (the band of yours truly) was preparing for a U2 cover set at For the Music Productions’ first installment of the “Show Your Influence” series. As we began to load in, I swore I heard Billy Joe Armstrong and co. reverberating from the Forvm’s sacred walls. “Who is this band?,” I asked myself as I fumbled for the show’s flier. “Holkam-Holcum-Hol-Company?” “Who cares?! They sound exactly like Dookie-era Green Day!” Now, I’m not exactly a pop-punk defender (as it were); however, Green Day was a large part of my precious, embryonic years of musical development, so it comes as no surprise that a closet Green Day fan such as myself would be ecstatic (ahem, reluctantly, of course). The night when on, and, naturally, they closed their set with a damn-near perfect cover of “Good Riddance,” and that was it. It was sort of poetic, really: I wouldn’t hear from them for another few months.
Now, I’m going to go right ahead and admit it: I was a little nervous when I first heard the singles. For a second, I thought I was hearing the Green Day cover set again, until I realized that Green Day never wrote a song called “Only Human” or “Wretched Year.” Before you take that statement too far, let me say this:
It takes talent to recreate a sound so perfectly, and on a garage budget with garage equipment; however, respectable, critically-acclaimed artists don’t make careers on copying a sound tone-for-tone and note-for-note (sorry Coldplay and Parquet Courts).
Wait a minute……
The album finally reached bandcamp today, so I decided to give it a listen. “What’s this?” Stacked, palm-muted guitar riffs? A groove that Page and Bonham would be proud of? As it turns out, HolKampany has found a sound of their own on a great majority of the 19 tracks here. By the way, 19 tracks is unheard of on a local independent release; some will give kudos and others might gripe over its length and argue that you could strip this album down to its key tracks and still have a solid amount of material. Wherever you stand there, keep in mind that this is a punk rock record…But this isn’t just a punk rock record. Take the blues piano solo of “Golden Girl,” the Moon-inspired drum fills of “Deepest Me,” or the.acoustic balladry of “Make Amends.” The further I dive into “Juvenile Gentleman,” the more I realize that HolKampany may have actually written a classic, back-to-the-basics, rock ‘n’ roll album that simply disguises itself as pop punk. Perhaps “Marie” serves as the prime example of this notion. Aggressive, fast, and snotty, this song, on paper, is just another punk rock/pop punk track, but you can’t seem to get away from the classic rock vibe of it all.
Although I missed the CD release show, I bet these songs explode live. It’s no question they may have expanded sonically and become more monstrous in a big studio, but the recording quality is part of the album’s charm. After all, that’s what this record is about. Juvenile gentlemen. College students holding on to adolescence. And they’re going out with a bang.
Recommended for fans of: Green Day, Arctic Monkeys
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