Holy Holy

Impossible Like You single launch

To go to a gig without having heard the music of any of the artists who are performing is risky, and more so when you know nothing at all about the artists. If it pays off, however, it can be the best way to discover new bands and artists – for what is better than hearing songs played live, as they were intended? The gamble paid off on Thursday night when I fronted up to The Worker’s Club in Fitzroy for the launch of Holy Holy’s debut single ‘Impossible Like You’. During the evening, I discovered three delightful local acts whose music I quickly fell in love with.

First in line to perform was Melbourne’s own Ali Barter, a stunning songstress and Triple J favourite who cites Cat Power, Laura Marling, and Patsy Cline as influences. Having opened the Melbourne leg of Laneway Festival 2013 and scored support shows for artists including The Rubens, Cloud Control and Vance Joy, as well as providing vocals on a track Seth Sentry’s debut album, Barter is developing a loyal fan base, particularly in her home town. Joined onstage by Holy Holy’s Oscar Dawson – providing guitar and backing vocals – it gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling to see how supportive and interconnected the Melbourne music scene is. We are so very lucky to have so much local talent, and Barter is one of the best artists on the scene at present.

The second set of the night belonged to another Melbournian – Ainslie Wills, a singer/songwriter who recently released her debut album entitled You Go Your Way I’ll Go Mine. Wills was joined on stage by long-time collaborator Lawrence Folvig and drummer Arron Light for a short but sweet set of guitar-and vocal driven songs. Lyrically, Wills writes intriguing and enchanting songs, but it is her voice that is the most impressive element of her music – she has an incredible voice, at times reminding me of Feist – though I’m sure Wills’ range is more impressive.

The band room at The Worker’s Club was packed by the time Oscar Dawson returned to the stage, this time with the other half of Holy Holy, Brisbane native Timothy Carroll. The two have collaborated on Carroll’s solo projects in the past – Carroll is an established singer/songwriter, while Dawson is a composer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist based in Melbourne. The two have come together under the moniker Holy Holy to create the yet-to-be-released When The Storms Would Come. Joined on stage with a full band to celebrate the release of ‘Impossible Like You’, I was blown away by what this duo had to offer.

As ‘Impossible Like You’ is the duo’s first release, I’m not able to recall other songs from their set in great detail, other than the one’s Carroll took the time to introduce. What I do recall, however, is how evident Carroll’s song-writing skills are in the collection of songs the two have created. Intricate tales of love, travel, loss, hope, and life were shared with the audience, and of these songs, ‘If I Were You’ is one that stood out in particular. The imagery in Carroll’s lyrics is stunning, and alongside the riffs provided by Dawson, and the lush tones provided by the rest of the band, it was an auditory delight. Naturally, ‘Impossible Like You’ was one of the standout songs from their set – it is a good choice for a first single, but provides only a glimpse of what this band has to offer. Their set also featured two covers – the first of these was ‘Southern Man’ by Neil Young. It was spot-on, and Young is obviously a huge influence for these guys. The harmonies they bought to the song were incredible, and Dawson’s solo was perfection.

The most special moment of the night – for me, at least – was the final song of the evening, when Ainslie Wills and Lawrence Folvig returned to the stage to join Carroll and Dawson in a cover of ‘Crying’ by Roy Orbison. I don’t think I have the words to describe how good this cover was. The vocals were stunning, the guitar accompaniment provided by Folvig and Dawson was intricate, layered, and beautiful, and it all bought a tear to my eye and a pain to my heart. Wonderful.

‘Impossible Like You’ barely scratches the surface of what Dawson and Carroll are capable of, and we should be thanking the powers that be that they decided to come together to create Holy Holy. Pay attention to this band and all they have to offer – I’ve certainly found a new favourite.

Check out this video of 'Impossible Like You', shot during Holy Holy's set on Thursday night.

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