Holy Now @ Leith Depot, Edinburgh, 15 Mar

Playful and exciting, Gothenburg's Holy Now play a stellar set to a sold-out Leith Depot

Live Review by Amy Hill | 20 Mar 2019
  • Holy Now

Ylva Holmdahl’s emphatic drums silence a sold-out Leith Depot. As Dream gets the rest of the band head-bopping, Holmadahl grabs the room with both sticks and doesn’t let go.

Gothenburg’s Holy Now are evidently an extremely tight-knit band, both in their musicianship and their bandship, and they're great to watch in a live setting. Julia Olander stands assuredly centre-stage backed by Samuel von Bahr Jemth and Hampus Eiderström Swahn, with Holmdahl as their backbone. They constantly look at each other, are constantly smiling, and constantly move in perfect synchronicity.

When their second track, Wake Up, begins, we can’t help but think of Kate Bush as Olander desperately sings 'I think I’m dying', reaching above Swahn and Bahr Jemth’s velvet backing vocals. The contrast of dark lyrics over upbeat pop rhythms is a familiar one, yet Holy Now give it new life. In ballad Tainted Heart, Olander builds up to a euphoric refrain of 'I wanted to break it all', and it’s hard to take your eyes off her. The band move between heavy instrumentals and stripped-back drums and vocals with noteworthy dexterity and ease.

Although the set mostly comprises of upbeat numbers, there are welcome moments where they pull it back, too. Often these moments of calm precede moments where Olander allows herself to let loose, in particular on Time. Beautiful non-lyrical phrases at the start of this song echo heartbeats, slowly building up to its climax where Olander’s vocals and Swahn’s guitar melt together, and it feels like we’ve been building up to this moment all night.

Despite the band staying impenetrably tight throughout their set, each member still finds room to be playful. They all take their turn at chatting with the audience, and each seems to have a very different personality. It might be a bit of a cliche, but this feeling combined with the intimacy of the venue really does draw the audience in, and ultimately makes us like the group even more. It’s their first time playing in Edinburgh, and we certainly hope they come back soon.

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