Record Review: Holy Fuck, Latin

Categories: Record Review
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The Hype:
It's been three years since critics lauded Holy Fuck's wild onslaught of electro improvisation on their 2007 album LP. In that time, Canadian keyboard duo Brian Borcherdt and Graham Walsh welcomed bassist Matt McQuaid and Matt Shulz to the party and slowly traded some unbridled chaos for a little bit of rhythmic structure. It's a step forward (or backward, whichever way you wanna look at it) that fans are sure to have an opinion about. Currently, the band is on tour in Europe until the summer. You can check them out in Los Angeles at the Troubadour on June 8.


The Judgment: They might come off as geographically-challenged with their latest release, Latin (out today on Young Turks), but the crafty Canucks Holy Fuck carved out a fairly impressive effort here. Even though there's nothing Latin about it. If anything, the addition of taut bass and drum lines add an extra helping of kraut rock to their fast-paced third album.

Except for the sleepy, synth swells of album opener "1MD," Latin is wide awake with kinetic energy that almost forces you to get off your ass and run somewhere. Especially when you hear songs like "Red Lights" and "Stilletos," that pop with air-tight musicianship of McQuaid and Shulz and the ambient sound warps/general weirdness you'd expect from the Borcherdt and Walsh. 

For the most part, HF's modified sound is a satisfying and cohesive step up. Although at some points, the quick pace on every song gets a little tiresome. "Silva & Grimes" and "Lucky" are two prime examples of tracks that don't really stand out much. In some places, their glossy Euro-beats just sound like background music for a Cadillac commercial. But there are more than enough instances where the band uses their new structured sound in interesting ways.

Gems on the Latin include the Nintendo-fied blips on semi-title track "Latin America" and it's growling, evil cousin "SHT MTN", both packed with sawing synths. At its best, the album manages to deliver the primal, passionate energy you've come to expect from the soaked, underground dance club experience. And occasionally it does a good job of using raw musicianship and an artful ear to re-invent the best parts of it. But can we make one suggestion? Try re-naming this album something else. How about German?

Grade: B+


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