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Elvis Depressedly - "Holo Pleasures/California Dreamin'" | Album Review

by Herb Quick

Issued by Run For Cover Records, the eighth release from the Asheville, NC two piece Elvis Depressedly is a lyrically potent, crackle-bathed pop dream. The LP is a re-release of the band’s 2013 Holo Pleasures combined with a yet-to-be-released EP, California Dreamin’.

The two records complement each other very well, but remain distinct enough in orchestration and texture for each to offer unique sadboi magnetism. Fleeting and effective, every song on the respective albums remain curtly under three minutes in length, which makes for an easy straight-through listen. Holo Pleasures/California Dreamin' strolls past like an emotional cavalcade on a soft summer evening, the fever dreams of a sleepy fatalist.

Holo Pleasures is a happily-chorded gloomfest with a simple-but-full construction. Guitar lines mimic the vocal melody in "Weird Honey" as it accompanies the lyrics through brief thoughts of late nights and hopelessly, confusedly crushin’ on peeps, and into a plausibly well-wishing chorus, “If there’s a cool spot in hell, I hope you get it.”

California Dreamin’ takes the feels a slightly different direction from the get-go in “Angel Cum Clean,” utilizing a bit more open space than Holo Pleasures, allowing the vocals to breathe above the sea of keys and subdued percussion. California Dreamin' as a whole feels a smidge less fuzzy in some spots and a smudge more complex in others. The track “Slip” feels the most different, taking on a far more upbeat instrumental feel as it opens with a distant reverbed-out guitar line set in the distance, while seldom-resolving piano chords skip along to a hip hop beat. In contrast, the lyrical gut punches that tie the Holo Pleasures/California Dreamin' threads of melancholia together don’t stop here: “let's not reminisce/ the past is cauterized/ memories will only twist the blade/ that slips deep inside.”

From Holo Pleasures' first fizzy-fuzzed out chord in “Okay,” to the punctuating reverse ride that closes out “Up in the Air” and ends California Dreamin’, Elvis Depressedly’s most recent release is a lo-fi sweetheart that will hold your hand on that long walk home.