Our Take: Holiday Ghosts Capture Our Times with a Little Help From the Past on ‘North Street Air’

Holiday Ghosts © Holiday Ghosts
Holiday Ghosts © courtesy of the artist

Oliver's Take

8 Music Quality
8 Production
6 Content Originality
7 Memorability
6 Sonic Diversity
7 Arranging
Holiday Ghosts channel The Kinks to cackle tackling crooked landlords, capitalism and the daily struggles of surviving in a 21st Century city on ‘North Air Street’.
Stream: ‘North Street Air’ – Holiday Ghosts

The Kinks may be one of the 1960s’ most underrated bands. Lost in the shuffle of The Beatles versus The Rolling Stones, Dead Heads and the opaque poetry of The Doors, The Kinks’s jangly pop and monotone vocals have disappeared from modern discourse. However, their influence lives on—maybe strongest in Brighton’s Holiday Ghost.

Holiday Ghosts - North Street Air
North Street Air – Holiday Ghosts

On North Street Air, the duo explore the sonic plans laid out by those quarrelling brothers some sixty years ago. While never touching the blistering distortion of “You Really Got Me,” or “All Day and All of the Night,” Holiday Ghosts beautifully capture the playful, jangly moments of “A Well Respected Man,” or the summertime catchiness of “Lola.” The Kinks’s best quality was the sense that their clean boy image may fall apart at any moment, revealing the messy rock’n’rollers they’ve been the whole time: They were The Rolling Stones dressed as Beatles.

Holiday Ghosts ride this line even harder.

From the opening notes of “Mr. Herandi,” it’s clear the duo are ready to push this to the limit, making rattling acoustic jams that simmer underneath. “All the lines are directly factual to the situation we were in at that point and his name really is Mr Herandi,” says the band. “We also recorded it in his house which was directly above his letting agents.”

While the Kinks sang of love and fictional characters, Holiday Ghosts are tackling crooked landlords, capitalism and the daily struggles of surviving in a 21st century city. This is where they separate themselves from the ’60s legends, making themselves a band to watch rather another pastiche party album. Their lyrics are loaded with an angst that most millennials feel, yet it never loses its summery vibes. It is instantly catchy, their vocals intertwining beautifully to make it nearly impossible not to sing along yourself. The feeling is pure Beach Boys, but the harmonies are charmingly shaky.

Nowhere is this more evident than “Bathing Suit,” which has a repetitive piano line and addictive guitar riff, crafting an easy flowing rock song. By the time the chorus of “one of the boys” hits, you’re already sipping a beer on a patio and enjoying the breeze.

North Street Air captures a specific moment in time—a 2020s of minimum wage jobs and housing insecurity—using a sound from fifty years before. This duality adds an extra layer to the album’s theme though, a sense that things haven’t changed for the folks in these streets all this time on. There’s no sense of “things were better then,” but rather “how can we make an old sound new again.” Across the album’s 12 songs, Holiday Ghosts have created an album with an instantly recognizable sound that has enough twists and modern lyrics to make it interesting. The Kinks may be underrated, but the Holiday Ghosts shouldn’t be.

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Holiday Ghosts - North Street Air

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