Friday, 19 September 2014

Album Review: Comfort In The Discord by The Holy Mess

One gig that I am really looking forward to in the coming weeks is The Menzingers at The Electric Ballroom in Camden with support from The Smith Street Band and The Holy Mess. By now you should all know what a big fan girl I am for The Menzingers and The Smith Street Band but what about The Holy Mess? The Holy Mess are a band I’ve been aware of for a while and have always enjoyed everything they have put out but have never really jumped fully into one of their records. By that I mean I probably couldn’t tell you many song titles or recite any lyrics to you. As I would be seeing them soon I decided to jump into their 2014 release Comfort In The Discord.

It’s All Fun and Games ‘Til Someone Gets Heard (Sunshine Is My Destroyer) is the name of the opening song on the album. I was fairly amused by the fact that the song actually has fewer words than its title. This opener serves as much as an introduction as it does as a song and dishes up some fast paced pop punk guitars with some angsty gruff vocals. Very much the sound of Red Scare Industries, a record label that The Holy Mess Once called home. This is followed up by Spencer Reid, straight away the Philadelphia three piece shows off their ability to write a hook. This song explodes with energy as they boys sing about being misunderstood and wanting to be cared about despite maybe being different.

Track three is called Liza and Louisiana. I suspect that this is a play on the NOFX song Liza And Louise. I don’t know what it is about this song but it reminds me of Coyote Shivers song Sugar High that is featured in one of my all time favourite films Empire Records (if you don’t know it shame on you). This is followed up by Positive Noise; straight away you can hear one of the bands influences Alkaline Trio coming through on the sound. The guitars sound noticeably darker as does the singers vocal styling’s. It’s a slow building song that bursts into life for the chorus which is what you’d expect from a band influenced by the Trio, super catchy.

Next up is one of my stand out tracks on Comfort In The Discord – Nervous Sister. What I really like about this track about blaming all your problems on someone that you have loved and lost is the use of both vocalists. The singing in the second verse really gives the song a great sense of urgency and will get a lot of fists pumping into the air. Track six is my favourite on the release, the excellent Speak Easy. A fast paced sing along pop punk song that starts off with a great guitar solo before launching into a hook filled song about recognising your own faults. At the end of the song there is another great guitar solo before some great gang vocals interestingly singing the last line of Positive Chords again “if we play the right chords they’ll make positive noise, lifting up this spirits as we drain them.” The Holy Mess are singing about how playing punk rock has saved them.

Worthless Original is a song that really hit home for me; I found the lyrics really relatable at this stage of my life. The song is about feeling alone and struggling to have motivation in your life. I have had this feeling a lot this year and it really sucks, I’ve had so many days where it’s been a struggle to even get out of bed in the morning so to hear this song was very refreshing. It’s good to feel like that you’re not alone in being that way. Vacation is another fast paced track that continues in a similar vein to Worthless Original. It’s about being on medication to make you feel better and the feeling you get when you come off it. You feel like a whole different person and sometimes it makes you feel like a sinking ship. Another very relatable song for me.

Track number nine is called For The Press and here The Holy Mess turn up the gruff vocals to eleven and there is an emergence of “whoa-ohs” for the first time on the album. Not a bad effort for the penultimate song on the album. This is another relatable song for any punk rock kid who has felt out of place. They sing about being at a party they don’t feel like that they belong at just to feel like they are doing something. Comfort In The Discord finishes with The Weight. Like every song on the release The Holy Mess don’t slow the pace down on this song about the weight of something holding you down. It finishes on a positive note with the band singing “the weights we have will never break out backs.” For me this means that whatever life throws at you, if you’re strong enough you won’t be broken or beaten. Wonderful message.

Comfort In The Discord is a brilliant release from The Holy Mess. One of the best I’ve heard all year. I really regret never given them more of a listen as based on this release they are absolutely fantastic songwriters. I hope more people seeing them on their tour with The Menzingers and The Smith Street Band will have given them a proper listen so we can give them the reception they really do deserve. I’m going to predict that if you’re not a fan before hearing them you definitely will be afterwards. 

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