If you’re a dedicated fan of over the top, orchestral, roof raising songs in the vein of Godspeed You! Black Emperor you will love “Holler, Wild Rose!”
The almost 70-minute musical-muscle display that is their debut album is worth taking a break from your busy schedules for. They blend distorted indie rock with those shoegaze tactics of blurring everything into a soothing wall of sound. When they get a little exhausted of this they take a few moments to sit down and exhale.
Our Little Hymnal start off with a bang as the roof raising album-opener “Holler, Wild Rose!” explodedes at you. This song is carried to epic anthem-like proportions mostly due to the unearthly voice of singer John Mosloskie. His range seems limitless and cuts through their dreamy music and stabs you right in the heart. The apparent Jeff Buckley-resemblance cannot go unnoticed, and what a great vocal role model to have. Mosloskie has apparently also taken a few singing tips from Thom Yorke and not to mention James Russell Smith of The Shins.
You can spend a long time picking out every renowned indie rock-band you can think of from this goodie bag. This does not make HWR just another sheep in the flock. They manage their influences with a humble approach that lets their personality shine through.
The first song is so massive that you actually need the rest of the record to catch your breath. You’re given ample time to do this as HWR slows down the ride. With Mosloskie at the wheel you’re pretty safe and when you get sleepy he’ll even sing you lullabies.
The only negative thing I can say about this record is that sometimes it feels as if they rely a little too much on the vocal bungee jumping of Mosloskie. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for it. It’s just that in some songs it’s like the rest of the band just stops and stares at him in awe, mechanically beating their instruments and forgetting that they’re a part of the song. I don’t blame them; it’s easy to get completely hypnotized by his voice. It is, however, when they really work together like in the “Shins”-swinging “Sun Vines” that their capacity fully shines through.