a term of uncertain meaning

Listening to New Jersey-based Holler, Wild Rose!’s Our Little Hymnal is an arduous task. While the album’s opening track shows promise, a lack of cohesion throughout leaves both the listener and the album’s best tracks drifting in a boundless sea.

The opening track, from which the band takes its name, features small, high vocals pushing against spacious instrumentals. The feeling is similar to what bands such as Muse and Radiohead achieve. A comparison can also be drawn between the timbre of John Mosloskie’s vocals and those of Thom Yorke.

“Marylawn Hair” offers a swirling feeling that calls to mind the sound of psychedelic hippies without ever actually crossing into such a genre, while “Mercy Beat” takes a darker bent and pulls in the reigns for a more structured sound.

The album seriously falters around its midpoint. “Captive Train” fails to appeal, followed by “Poor In Spirit” which brings things to a crashing halt. The song is slow and incredibly sparse with lots of dead space. It drags on too long and in several instances gives the listener false hope that it has reached an end. Further adding to the pain is the extremely nasal tone that Mosloskie adopts as the track progresses. If I wasn’t reviewing the album, I’d have given up on Our Little Hymnal at this point.

That’s unfortunate – the end of the album has some really beautiful work. Though still meandering, “Sun Vines” is less spacey and feels like it has a direction in adopting a more indie sound. Pretty vocals and banjo make “Thief In Our Bed” an excellent listen that is quite different from anything heard at the beginning of the album. “Color That Sky” plods along but manages to stay light, eventually erupting into a sound that is uplifting and perfectly accompanies the Mosloskie’s cries that his ‘cup runneth over’.

It’s a shame that these three tracks are buried after the agonizingly sub-par middle of the album. With some artistic editing Holler, Wild Rose! could be a band to watch; without it they may remain set adrift in their own formless existence.

Our Little Hymnal drops 9/18/07.
Click on the links to download Marylawn Hair and Sun Vines.

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