Holobody – Riverhood

Holobody - Riverhood

Holobody - Riverhood

I have to confess that on the first few listens of this extremely good record, I was worried about falling for a Christian Rock artist. You might’ve had the experience I’m thinking of, where you listen to a song on the radio for a few seconds, start to grove with it, and then the chorus hits you with something like “And I give all glory to Him” or “He gave His life for me.” You realize that you’ve been duped. The woman wasn’t singing about her boyfriend, but about Jesus.

So when the lyrics of Holobody’s songs began to sink in, lines like the “Greatest Story Ever Told,” and “Sing the resurrection song,” troubled me. And what about all the singing about rivers? Isn’t that where people get baptized? A cover of “Down to the River to Pray” seems to seal the deal.

Am I falling for a Christian Rock album?

I can’t find anything on the interweb that says Holobody is Christian, but it doesn’t matter, and I don’t care anymore. This is a creative, seductive, and diverse album that sneaks up on you, grabs you, and then doesn’t let you go. Well, at least not until the second half, where you might start to tune out. The styles from to song to song are pretty different, but the vocals weave a thread through all of them. This album is a real find, at least parts of it, even if it is openly or secretly about Jesus, which is probably isn’t.

The first two songs work perfectly in tandem, the echoey and spiritual (Christian Rock alert?) “Unfold” leading into the up-beat, nearly rap-like “Hurricane Season.” It’s a powerful one-two punch. The album hiccups a bit after that, with a “Stomp Coda” that stretches “Hurricane Season” a little too long – a good example of too much of a good thing. But then the album picks up again with the river-themed “Riverbed” and the almost bluesy “Way the World Goes Round” and its soothing message that you’ve got to take the good with the bad, the ups and the downs.

The band’s sound is diffuse, which works for a while, but then there’s always the risks that the songs will go on too long, and meander a bit without coming to a point. It’s hard to tell with the way the album wraps up whether there is something buried deep down in the four and five minute songs, or if the band has simply run out of ideas. “Down to the River to Pray” was done better by Allison Krauss; the slower, gauzier version produced here can get a little sleepy. Still, the run at the beginning of this album is well worth a listen. If Holobody can’t keep it up, they still build up a pretty good head of steam. God bless them.