Emotion through sound, sounds created from emotion: There is a two-way relationship between how one creates music from what they feel and how one explains feeling by creating music. One can tell a story through the grit and grime of electric guitar, through the solitude of an electronic beat, through the fading air of a voice.
Holiday Shores’ sophomore album, New Masses for Squaw Peak, does this flawlessly, exhibiting some of the most innovative and experimental indie pop since The Flaming Lips’ 2002 release, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, and The Shins’ 2003 disc, Chutes Too Narrow. But now, it’s a new decade, and with it comes this new breed of indie album, complete with the revitalized soundscape and conceptual undertones that make this genre such an intriguing and enjoyable breed of musical creation.
New Masses for Squaw Peak exhibits a diverse range of sounds and tones, a nod to its complexity. “Airglow” is an electronic, post-jazz hybrid, with “Cord-du-Roi” rearing little more than some light bass and electric guitar strumming, along with the vocalist’s characteristic croon.
Two tracks, “New Masses” and “Squaw Peak”, compose the album’s title and, listened to together, artfully and powerfully blend the beauty of acoustic-electric picking, loneliness, a call for the love of nature, of the way the sun rises behind a crown of hulking mountains, and of the soundless, but daunting, succession of the moon and the sun. Likewise, “Ocotillo Dripping” and “Coming to Shores” are all about ambiance and reverberation, each an ode to the way that little more than instrumental sounds and successions can be so pleasing to both the ear and the imagination.
Essentially, this is what each track of New Masses for Squaw Peak does: They take you on a journey, inspire your imagination. I look forward to seeing Holiday Shores experiment further, as they will likely distinguish themselves as one of the more creative and talented indie pop bands of recent memory.
Essential Tracks: “Airglow”, “Spells”, and “Cord-Du-Roi”