Rock’s history is littered with singers impersonating someone else’s accent. From Mick Jagger’s yankee drawl, to Sting’s bizarre Jafakian patois, to the bloke out of Rancid doing his best Joe Strummer via Dick Van Dyke, it’s a recognisable marker of frontman dreaming of a life lived elsewhere. However, listening to ABC City on the new Holograms album, I realise that this is probably the first time I’ve heard anyone trying to knock off the flattened vowels of a Sunderland brogue, specifically the Sunderland brogue of Futureheads’ Barry Hyde. Weird. Holograms are from Sweden, but you really couldn’t tell that from the music; a rambunctious synth augmented tribute to a certain strain of British and American indie acts of the early noughties, who in turn paid tribute to the post punk titans of the 80s. It’s Gang of Four, as played by Bloc Party, as played by Holograms.
This is more an observation than a criticism, and the band do what they do well. Energy levels are set to mosh throughout, the melodies are razor sharp (what we used to call ‘angular’ round these parts) and the chorus’s are sweaty shout-alongs. Holograms sound like they’d be amazing live. Highlights come when the keyboards are allowed to unleash driving poppy riffs, as on Chasing My Mind and the aforementioned ABC City- it’s here that the band stake more of their own claim on the otherwise slightly overfamiliar high tempo indie punk they thrash out. So, not life changing, but fun enough, with a promise of more to come.