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Published: 2005/09/08
by Holly Isbister

Quit +/or Fight – Holopaw

Sub Pop 639

Well, well, perhaps the Southeast is not the Sahara of the Bozarts after all. Holopaw makes a convincing case for Southern musicians and their significance in the greater scheme of folk rock with their most recent release, Quit +/or Fight. These Gainesville, Florida natives may have gone all the way to New York City for production by Mike Pecchio, but the sound is still rooted below the Mason-Dixie line. Just goes to show you can take the band out of Gainesville, but you can’t take the Gainesville out of the band.

Quit +/or Fight doesn’t exemplify much in the way of variety, but rather a distinct sense of self. Here is a band that has mastered their own sound, an adept crossing of minimalism, digital and organic elements, contained neatly in well-written songs.

The real meat of the album lies in this very mixture — songs like "Curious" with its somber bass clarinet, and John Orth's haunting falsetto gently spread over top. The pedal steel of "Clearing" contrasts with the mechanical, eerily manipulated vocals of "Velveteen."

The album's lyrics are peppered with references to nursery rhymes and children's stories like Little Boy Blue, Santa Claus, and the Velveteen Rabbit. While at times cryptic, the occasional phrase will rip a hole right through your heart. In "Little Shaver," Orth sings, "The dish ran away. The spoon has been mooning all day. Found a pocket comb with busted teeth. Can still feel the crush of you."

For their sophomore effort, Holopaw makes a convincing case for their brand of Southern folk rock. Blending their rootsy sound with more digital, progressive production results in a forward thinking album that is both intriguing and delightful. Great for a heart break, perfect for a road trip.


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