Live Review: Holy Holy, Olympia, The Franklin Electric

1 February 2016 | 12:39 pm | Carley Hall

"Breathtaking doesn’t even begin to cover it."

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The steamy night hasn’t put a dampener on the spirits of those early to arrive to tonight’s show at The Triffid. Instead, there’s a relaxed but enthused vibe already in place when Montreal folksters The Franklin Electric amble on stage. Singer Jon Matte has all the charisma needed to get the crowd oh-ing and oo-ing along to Old Piano, and if that’s not enough he’s also privy to some neat trumpet chops. Singles This Is How I Let You Down and Unsatisfied have the vocal gymnastics and hooky, upbeat motifs to ensure this won’t be the last time we hear from these indie-poppers.

It’s amazing that Melbourne’s Olympia have yet to be majorly flagged on the radar of indie-pop scenesters. The trio with fair-haired Olivia Bartley as their enigmatic leader – clad in a hypnotising, iridescent, silver space suit – have both the sound and style to see their moniker bandied about more often. Hats off to Bartley, who exercises such enviable control on those highwire pipes of hers; there is not a note out of place when she dips from dulcet huffs to trilling falsetto in This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things. She and her teal guitar, backed up by her staid drummer and guitarist, punch out Atlantis and flesh out the effects with pedals and loops, though the vocal does sometimes get lost here and there in the confusion.

The crowd has now swelled to its sold out size. Since the release of When The Storms Would Come last year, the Holy Holy boys can do no wrong. What was a revelation at their September BIGSOUND set is now a given; there is something just amazingly special about this band. When Timothy Carroll steps up and lets that warble of his rip on Impossible Like You while Oscar Dawson and the guys jam out those fuzzy guitar motifs, it’s pure magic. There is something in the Neil Young-ish noodlings from Dawson in Pretty Strays For Hopeless Lovers and the Midlake/Deathcab For Cutie yearnings from Carroll that unify something old and something new. A Heroine, Outside Of The Heart Of It and If I Were You are just such well-formed songs that it feels like they’ve been around forever.

Bartley returns to help cover Phil Collins’ Another Day In Paradise, because “we found out it was his birthday today, happy birthday Phil Collins”. A quick departure and then return for the encore sees Carroll and Dawson paying their respects to Bowie with a little snippet of Starman. Then the formidable History makes its anticipated appearance. It’s hard to sound awful in the rounded glory of this venue, but if ever there was a song to show off this band’s collective talent for musicality and songwriting it’s the twangy, ruminative, transporting, psychedelic hooks of their album’s flagship. Breathtaking doesn’t even begin to cover it.

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