Holly May – Where are the Brilliant Ballerinas EP

Holly May
Where are the Brilliant Ballerinas EP

Holly May is a young four-piece “chick band” from Austria, Europe, with a good sound that combines the luster of Cat Power’s full-band rock songs, Suzanne Vega’s later releases, Azure Ray’s smooth vocals, and Elliot Smith-like riffed tracks. Think Frente! or Mira Lee with a fuller, more well-rounded sound and a darker touch. Like D’arcy of former Smashing Pumpkins, the girls prefer analogue and vintage sound. All five songs combined include that disturbing winter eerie feel.
Though uncertain as to their age, by looking at the photographs included, I would guess they are 17. However, once getting to “The Collector,” the third track on this short EP, the overlapping voices and haunting lyrics such as “do I have someone to die for, do you have someone to die for? Do you?” cause me to raise their estimated age a bit. Though the songwriting is mature and well arranged, the band’s youthfulness is apparent in a good and promising way. Holly May make you wonder whether they are intentionally writing simple songs or just using what talent they possess. Either way, it sounds better than most comparable artists. With organ, piano, and a great set of chords, Holly May combine sad and flashy intricate songs with moodiness.
Oftentimes, it’s obvious that you’re listening to a stereotypical girl band. In this case, I don’t think unless told anyone could guess. There is no angry lashing out or screaming, and the Euro sound is often not apparent either. The talent is in the songwriting, which is catchy and effective in creating emotion. I love that even the simplest songs don’t sound limited, and nothing seems missing anywhere.
The band is said to recently have played an acoustic set with the CD release. I would love to have attended. They look to have somewhat of an active touring schedule, and if you are anywhere near Vienna I highly recommend checking them out. A few times a year, a lucky few CD’s are dropped at our door for review, and this one came as a privilege to listen to. Hopefully we hear more from this band in the states because the potential is neverending, and these girls are cute!