Fluttery folk-rock well aware of its own beauty, much like the music of Tim Buckley, to whom Holopaw?s John Orth must often be compared. And not without cause, as Orth trills and sighs in a way remarkably reminiscent of that lost romantic, particularly on this album?s sparsest songs (?Needle in the Hay?). But there are other reminiscences here too, like the Shinsy sway of ?3-shy-cubs? and ?Found (Quit +/or Fight),? the lyrics of which seem to have been gleaned from odd scraps collected by the venerable Found magazine. Or the way the acoustic guitar/drum interplay throughout the whole album ? the guitars laconic but out-front, the drums impossibly wispy ? has me singing ?Time is a jet plane, it moves too fast? to myself all day. Evidently the multi-state band recorded the songs here somewhat haphazardly, but the whole remains cohesive.
In fact, the similarity of tone from one song to another might be a drawback in that it renders each song a bit less able to grab you on first listen. Orth?s vocals sometimes contribute to this, too, so muted sometimes as to be suggested rather than sung. But if careful attention is paid, subtly gorgeous moments are revealed, like the extended, off-the-cliff-in-slow-motion coda of ?Shiver Me.? Besides, it?s not like a fuzz-pop number for variety?s sake would improve the album. Holopaw simply resides in a tensely quiet place, and they do so fully and with grace. 7/10 -- Sal Addays (26 September, 2005)