Athens psych-rockers Holy Monitor deal exclusively in hypnotic ambience and utopian soundscapes. The Greek quintet’s latest single, “Blue Whale,” is a lofty pop effort filled with warm and comforting reverb-drenched guitars.
On their forthcoming third album, Southern Lights, dropping February 26 through Blackspin/Primitive Music, Holy Monitor—vocalist and guitarist George Nikas, guitarist Stefanos Mitsis, bassist Alex Bolpasis, keyboardist Vangelis Mitsis, and drummer Dimitris Doumouliakas—push their expansive blend of krautrock, space rock, and ambient music into new, sonic territory. The LP acts as the astonishing and affecting follow up to their critically acclaimed, 2020 EP This Desert Land.
Opening with the powerful “River,” Southern Lights slowly builds up a repetitive groove, swirling with proggy keys and gentle tender vocals. Pre-release single “Naked in the Rain” moves into a frenzied Bacchanalian rite, taking listeners into a hedonistic, mad dance to exorcise the rain and revolt against reality. The near-eight-minute epic “The Sky is Falling Down” is charged with swirling bass lines trapped in a cyclonic whirlwind of fuzzed-out guitar riffs.
On the release of “Blue Whale,” Holy Monitor state:
“We were in the studio jamming on new ideas for our new album when we came up with this 5/4 beat accompanied by a clean, reverb-soaked strumming guitar. It was the first time we tried something different than the traditional 4/4 so we kept the idea and started building a new track with a classic Rhodes sound, an aery playful vocal line and a distinctive guitar solo that would be memorable. ‘Blue Whale’ was born with the addition of the story of a girl that was coming to life every time in different shape. A blue whale, a mountain, a ghost, the sand in an hourglass.”
Pre-order and stream Southern Lights through Bandcamp here.