Song of the Day: Holy Esque - Silences

Song of the Day
05/01/2014
Jacob Webb
photo by Lexie Alley

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, selected by DJ Shannon and featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “Silences” by Holy Esque, a 2014 self-released single.

Holy Esque - Silences (MP3)

The first thing that stands out about Holy Esque is lead singer Pat Hynes' Ellery James Roberts-meets-Scott Hutchinson vocals, and but the second, more important aspect of the Glasgow quartet's sound is how his bandmates match his ramshackle-yet-emotive performances with an equally as ferocious brand of post-punk. Formed in 2011 by Hynes, keyboardist/guitarist Keir Reid, guitarist Hugo McGinley, and drummer Ralph McClure, the band wasted no time differentiating themselves from the folk-indebted bands that dominated the scene, releasing an acclaimed EP that helped secure them a support slot on tour with Wu Lyf. Since then, the band has sporadically released singles and played gigs at CMJ, SXSW, and most notably, Glastonbury 2013, and earlier this year, the band ventured to Copenhagen to begin work on their full-length debut. "Silences", a presumed taste of the aforementioned EP, shimmers with a new wave rhythm, but Hynes' ragged yell and piercing guitars add a spike to the song's shine. Hynes' lyrics remain as cryptically dramatic as ever ("worse than all my precious pain" serves as the song's final rallying cry), but the song's brisk pace and McGinley and Reid's atmospheric textures move the song away from melodramatic territory and into more immediate, cathartic ground. As their discography has grown, Holy Esque have learned to capture musical tension in ways beyond just cranking up to eleven, and on "Silences", they show that they can channel that same power into a dazzling pop melody.

Holy Esque played North America earlier this year at SXSW, but they don't have any announced plans to return at the moment. Keep an eye on their Facebook and Tumblr for any news on new music or tour dates, and watch the biting, lyric video-mocking clip for "Silences" below.

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