Recently, I’ve been on some adding binges in terms of finding new albums to listen to. This album, Relax (2014), by Holy Wave, is one of those albums. Holy Wave is a psychedelic garage rock/drone group from El Paso, Texas, which was formed in 2008, and gained notoriety across the state in the city of Austin. Whenever I open this album on Apple Music, an album by another Texas psych band, The Black Angels, is recommended to me, and I very much enjoy The Black Angels whenever I listen to them. I’m pretty stoked to give this album a listen, so with that said, I’m going to jump on into the music.
“Do You Feel It” starts out with a really low, repetitive bass line that immediately reminds me of The Black Angels, especially as the snare comes in, and I’m really digging the overall sound. Oh wow, the organs and guitar come in and bring about a really mellow shoegazing sort of sound that reminds me a lot of modern psychedelic acts like Kingdom of the Holy Sun, or even Magic Shoppe. Oh wow, there’s a really mellow, psychedelic flowing to this track that I’m really digging. It’s almost like The Black Angels mixed with a sort of somewhat west coast psychedelic rock sound. Great track, and I’m excited to hear more.
“Psychological Thriller” starts out with a really intricate guitar lick and immediately drops into what sounds like a classic psychedelic garage rock track from 1966, complete with a fuzzy guitar, swirling organs, raw garage rock guitar chords, and a rockin’ bass line and beat. Holy smokes, the electric guitars really start digging in with some classic, twangy psychedelic garage/blues rock licks reminiscent of groups like the Blues Magoos. Great track.
“Night Tripper” has a strong, quick beat, and a churning bass line that get the song started. The name of the song might be a nod to Dr. John (aka the Night Tripper), though I’m not sure. Oh wow, the organs come in and bring some super sweet melody to the soundscape that I’m really digging. The vocals have a really interesting, somewhat distant sound to them, which almost gives the impression of the band being across a desert from you while you’re mysteriously pulled nearer as the guitars and organs jam while the drums and bass haven’t let up for even a single moment. Oh wow, the bass adds a couple of accentuations to the main line, and adds a lot of dynamic feel to the soundscape in the process. Oh wow, the drums change up as the song enters a new movement, and seems to let loose as the reverberation and drones in the soundscape keep the momentum moving forward. Holy smokes, the drums drop back into the main rhythm from the track, and the guitars and organs dig deeper and deeper into the track, and have brought me to the edge of my seat in the process. Great track.
“Sol Love” starts out with some mellow organs and keyboards, while the other instruments gradually flow into the soundscape. I’m really digging the mellow, flowing, psychedelic nature of this track, which very much reminds me of The Black Angels once again. I really dig the bass line in this track. Super sweet tune.
“Star Stamp” gets grooving right away with some classic psychedelic rock flavors reminiscent of 60s outfits like Shocking Blue. Holy smokes, the combination of tones, timbres, and reverbs between the organs and the raw guitar work seem to meld together psychedelic garage rock sensibilities of the 1960s with the shoegazing-influenced psychedelic rock styles of modern day that you might hear with groups like Kingdom of the Holy Sun. Wow, I’m really digging the organs in this track. And the bass line is super groovy, especially as the track gradually comes to a close. Great tune.
“Son of Sound” starts out with some tambourine reminiscent of Joel Gion in The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and is soon joined with a medley of somewhat jangly guitars and organs that remind me of a combination of MGMT and The Black Angels, with a bit of shoegazing mixed in. I’m really digging the flowing, somewhat chaotic, yet melodic soundscape of this track so far. Oh wow, some garage rock guitar comes into the soundscape, and has hooked me even further into the track with some sounds reminiscent of the mid-to-late 1960s. I really dig what sound to be a bunch of chaotic, layered audio samples of conversation in the background. Super sweet track.
Oh wow, “Shamania” fades in with a medley of flowing and far out sounds that remind me of a combination of The Black Angels and west coast psychedelic rock from the late 1960s. I’m really digging the use of organs in this track. Holy smokes, the super reverberated, distorted guitar work seems to verge on experimentalism at some points, while the continually flowing playing from the rest of the instruments keep the song moving along nicely, seemingly preventing the guitar from losing control to some extent. Holy smokes, the track breaks through and lets loose as the distorted, reverberated guitar seems to take the reins. Wow, great track.
Holy smokes, “Change Your Head / Ecstatic Moment” starts with a medley of sweet, reverberated, far-out organs, with a mellow, flowing rhythm section with a gentle, yet continually moving bass line, and a heavily reverberated tambourine on top of a snare. I’m really digging this track, which is nearly reminiscent of groups like Spacemen 3 with the sort of medley of noise, drone, and psychedelic garage rock sounds. Oh wow, the track keeps building momentum in a really groovy way as the song enters different movements. Super sweet track.
“Surfin Mta” starts away with some super flavorful, lightly distorted guitar chords, which flow along with the easy-going bass line and beat in the track. The vocals nearly verge on Brian Wilson’s vocals in “Surfin’ U.S.A.”, yet there’s almost a sort of flavor in the melody that has an almost ironic sort of tone at times, and sounds to be some sort of strange combination of The Black Angels, The Beach Boys, and even the Deftones. Great track.
“Mouth Mountain” gets grooving right away with a quick, upbeat beat, bass line, and chord progression that I’m really digging. Oh wow, the tone of the track seems to have taken a strange turn into a somewhat sullen, yet optimistic tone, which actually reminds me a bit of Cage the Elephant. Oh wow, the track has shifted into a really groovy, sort of raga-influenced, psychedelic drone movement with different, reverberated, and at times reversed, guitars and organs, while the strong bass line and beat seem to keep the track marching forwards.
Oh wow, “Wet & Wild” starts out with sort of strange, somewhat dark sounding guitar chords that immediately remind me of The Doors’ Strange Days (1967). The organs in this track also remind me a lot of Ray Manzarek of The Doors, and even the drums of John Densmore, also of The Doors. Though the melody and tones remind me a lot of The Doors, there’s also a sort of modern reverberation present in the track. Oh wow, the track ends with a somewhat chaotic, upbeat outro that I really dig. Great tune, and a great way to end the album.
Holy smokes, I’m glad I listened to Holy Wave tonight. I was reminded a lot of some of my favorite groups throughout the album, mostly The Black Angels, but there were flavors from 1960s groups like the Blues Magoos, Shocking Blue, The Doors, and even The Beach Boys, as well as more modern acts like Magic Shoppe, Kingdom of the Holy Sun, Cage the Elephant, and the Deftones as well. If you’re a fan of modern, shoegaze-influenced, flowing psychedelic rock, or you really enjoy the psychedelic garage rock of groups from the 1960s and are interested in listening to something from the modern day, then you might want to consider checking out this album. If you do decide to give this album a listen, then I sincerely hope that you enjoy the listening experience at least as much as I did.