June 19th, 2013 | Album reviews

Jared Pittack

Holy Folk
Silver Side

The cantankerous politics of bands being what they often are, it’s rare to see more than two songwriters penning a band’s compositions. Petty jealousies and outsized egos tend to flare when the creative spotlight must be shared. But the homegrown quartet Holy Folk has managed to up the ante to four—count ’em four—active songwriters, which suggests that the mellow four-piece is a remarkably easy-going and generous-spirited outfit. It shows in their music, too: the quartet’s debut long-player, Motioning, is a slow, likeable ride, a sun-kissed collection of ten diverse songs that run the gamut from the banjo-backed folk of “A Moment Here” to the shiny keyboard-laced summer pop jam “Time Lapse.” Collaborators Keith Waggoner, Josh Caldwell, Ryan George and Jonathan Hylander don’t get caught up in delivering anything that can be too easily categorized, but the album never feels disjointed either. The songs move easily and naturally from folksy country-rock ballads to Bowie-inspired strolls (like the hypnotic “A Place We Couldn’t Stay,” a highlight on the album), to flat-out rock ‘n’ rollers, and even a melancholy instrumental that closes the album. With crisp and clean production values and an arsenal of instruments that includes acoustic guitars, fiddles, keyboards, pianos, accordions, and chimes, Motioning comes off as a richly textured and mature record from a band that is clearly on the road to impressive things.
Jason Gelt