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Albums Reviews

David Holmes

Holy Pictures
Mercury
[Three stars]

Rolling Stone IN Nov 08, 2008

You might know him from his soundtrack work for Steven Soderbergh films like Out of Sight and the Ocean’s trilogy, but Holmes has had an alternative career as DJ and song writing musician for over a decade and a half now. And though he’s known to sway stylistically between solo projects, to listen to Holy Pictures one is tempted to wonder whether his lesser known output is perhaps not much more accomplished than the mere light and unobtrusive air of his scores. From the moment you slip the disc in and ”˜I Heard Wonders’ comes on, it’s hard to get rid of the niggling sense that everything you’re listening to, you’ve heard somewhere before. It is done as a take-off on Primal Scream’s ”˜Autobahn 66’ (from Evil Heat) and a motif from Mark Knopfler’s beautiful theme from Last Exit to Brooklyn played by the LCD Soundsystem rhythm section. Holmes’s unremarkable voice too makes a rare and shy, garbled appearance here, unwittingly foreshadowing the well-produced and instrumented yet melodically bland clutter that permeates this disc. About half the tracks on this record are songs (a majority of which flatly refuse to rise out of their middling musical and lyrical context) while the rest of the material revisits Holmes’s drier soundtrack moments. There are occasional sparks in the dark (the psychedelic/trip-hopping tones of ”˜Kill Her With Kindness’, perhaps the best song here, the pure serene ambience of instrumental ”˜Hey Maggie’, the motorik chugging of ”˜Melanie’) and the record does seem to get more thoughtful in the second half, but HP is not an album that will keep many engrossed for long.

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