Holder - Playing for an Audience of Candles
for an Audience of Intricacy
would life be without a few cracks?" muses this talented guitarist
on the opening track to his new album. Indeed, imperfection
seems to be a common theme in the songs of Luke Holder, whether
it's in the degeneration of a relationship going stale, the
confessions of an immature college sophomore, the guilt of
a criminal, or even the indulgences of an infatuated and tortured
he succeeds by an intelligent synthesis of emotion and music
in a way that very few acoustic guitarist / songwriters can.
Take the very first song, "Cracks" - an effortlessly catchy
upbeat tune weaved around words like "Oblivious to the things
that are going good / I can't think straight but I thought
someday I could / it's like making a million dollars and bitching
about the tax / what would life be without a few cracks?"
Or the sudden shift from a minor to a major key in "Dark and
Lovely" coupled with "He had never felt these emotions before
/ all together in a positive way." Or the happy-go-lucky refrain
of "Curbside Philosophy" - "Curbside philosophy of the anointed
sophomore / I spend my time feeling better than all the freshmen
/ who have to do all the things I did before." Or how about
the Eddie Vedder-like wailing in "Impress Me" - "Just to get
the taste of lust / and the taste of sin on your lips" as
a violin hums steadily in the background?
also succeeds by an ability to take a simple three or four
chord progression and stretch it out into an epic beat poem
like only a select few - think a punkish Bob Dylan, or more
accurately a male and slightly subdued Ani DiFranco. "Curbside
Philosophy" and "Feel Good" in particular both exhibit the
DiFranco like twang, but with some added twists, like some
haunting multi-tracked vocals, some fuzzbox guitar on the
former, and some overly candid lyrics on the latter.
Holder forges an identity of his own by being so versatile.
In addition to the twang, there's some beautiful confessional
stuff going on here. "Impress Me," "Heart and a Hammer" and
"K in NYC" are as stellar and plaintive a trio of pleas from
the heart as you're going to find in today's irony-filled
is an extremely intricate, complex folk-rock album, in that
it's full of intelligent writing and playing from start to
finish. If you do anything else while you listen to it you'll
probably miss something. Turn down the lights and play this
one when you're feeling introspective. If there's any justice
in the world, Luke Holder won't be playing to an audience
of candles for long.