Album Review of:
‘COME’ by TIM HOLEHOUSE
(November 2019, KRUMM108,
under licence to Aaah!! Real Records)
This album consists of troubadour tales, despite Tim himself self-confessed as not much of a tourist. His own definition is ‘self-employed hobo musician.’ A tramp shining, on battered odysseys. Adding ‘I play music for music’s sake.’ Opener “Numbers Game” is big echoing drum-kicks, with rasping strings, part-Lumineers, part spiralling-strangeness, part Hothouse Flowers story-song. No, that other 1980s band, It’s Immaterial – “Driving Away From Home”, that’s the one. Glad we’ve cleared that up. ‘Sometimes an itch will become irritation.’ ‘Come’ is nine new songs of snackable track-length across just thirty-four minutes, with an optional ‘Sunburst’ vinyl edition. Come as you are, and keep on coming. Yes, there’s no point in looking back, Tim opines, because there’s no rear-view mirror to life. Instead, there’s a dance of “Areiro” fiddles set to a narrative trip to Portugal where Atlantic tides smack the beach, with anecdotes, incidents and a swelling chorus so real it makes you want to book a flight – if Thomas Cook hadn’t gone down.
A Portsmouth naval-town Folk-Bluesman (born 9 November 1976) – ‘by the sea, I was born and raised’, the prolific Timothy C Holehouse has come a long way up the Strasse since then, enjoying collaborations with Vincent Slegers, the Tourette Boys or Malcolm Tent. The music of his standout albums, including ‘Fighter’ (2013, Disclosure Deity Records), tend to be triggered by influences as diverse as ‘The Wicker Man’, love, loss, Spike Milligan, harvests, death, feelings and the sea. Already his second album of 2019, ‘Come’ follows the fifteen-track live compilation ‘Where?’ recorded at various venues across Europe, but this is ‘the whole widescreen version of my song-writing,’ preceded by his YouTube Bridge City Sessions, where his earlier “Gainesville City Limits” comes even more vocally raw, and there’s a vein-bulging improvised “Freud’ reduced to a mere Janov Primal Scream.
Now, his vocal lines are ghosted by occasional female harmony, against the unsettlingly drunk instrumental lurching sway. Classic ripples of guitar strings, mid-paced with a dirgy edge that tips over into odd alchemies, around the point of “Prince Of The Palace”. ‘To all my friends I’ve loved and lost,’ with slide glistening up and down the fret. ‘Maybe today, finally, I’ll quit smoking,’ will he really? of course not, kicking addictive habits is hard, hell yeah, with a “Twenty-Four Hours” that builds into powerful circling repetitions. Less the sensitive poet, more corporeal than that, what the album lacks in lyrical depth it makes up for in slicing lasers of fiddle. Tim is a yearning Icarus with feet gravity-locked firmly to the ground. “Placid Lake” – ain’t that the mega-croc monster-movie? Apparently not. Glad we’ve cleared that up. It’s more an arboreal idyll, a healing retreat beyond city limits, away from the factories and smoke of the rat race. Into the broken haunted sounds of closer-track “London” where he’s barely singing, it’s more a confessional, with the metropolis less a destination as somewhere to escape to, with dissonance filling the spaces between his voice. As the city lights go out. One by one. Leaving only… silence.