The sad shimmer of 80s pop is a balm for my feverish brain. There’s something earnest about it. Artists acknowledge that they are real people. Lyrics are so honest that they feel raw and uncomfortable, yet the notes and synthesizer make everything glow. Music like that reminds me that there are lots of people out there sharing a human experience. It makes everything less lonely, and even turns around manic lows. I dig it. After talking to Holden Laurence, it seems I have a brother in glitter-dusted arms.
Holden’s solo project is nearly five years strong, and holy-freaking-crap has he found his sound. He may have been writing music for over a decade, but it took him much of that time to start seeing himself as an artist. Holden considered himself singer/songwriter type, and it made finding his own sound a crooked path. He spent a few years trying different solo stuff but it never sounded right until 2015. Then, he released a demo with the early alternative and 80s pop influences and it just clicked.
Jamie (2015) laid the groundwork for the Holden Laurence I know and love. The EP (and subsequent full-length album) were born out of the end of a long term relationship, as most great music is.
His second full-length album, however, takes a second glance at the break-up. Revisiting the same relationship years later created new content, especially after being in a better place. The intro track, “Speaking in Tongues,” dives into how people sugarcoat relationships by holding on to idealistic visions. Even after the love is gone and the relationship has long gone sour, it’s easy to keep soldering on in hopes of feeling something good again.
The sound of the song perfectly matches its content. Synth reverberates heavy under sliding guitar riffs. The experience reminds me of the first time I heard the Smiths. “Meat is Murder” has been stuck in the back of my brain ever since. Now Holden has wormed his way into my brain, too.
Holden’s new album, “Rewire,” drops May 10th.
Until then, hear “Speaking in Tongues” below: