Monday 2 September 2013

Projecting Outwards, Forever

A hologram is a creation of something that is not - a projection of something three-dimensional, allowing things to exist in spaces where they cannot conceivably be. Essentially a technological sleight of hand, designed to elude, to confuse, to solicit, to entrance - to trick. Yet holograms are flawed, even as a figment of the imagination - bound within the limits of projection, forever one-dimensional.

Sweden's Holograms, and indeed the bubbling nihilism inherent in the Stockholm underground scene (if such a thing can be deemed to exist), have a lot to live up to. Can the fires continue to burn, the reservoir of inertia begetting anger like napalm, or will it prove to be a facade, a one-faceted ruse to disguise a thinly-veiled play for style rather than substance? Although You're Nothing, Denmark brethren Iceage's follow-up to explosive debut New Brigade, was an exciting slice of ephemeral gnashing of teeth, its slickness and lessening of jackboot aggression found some detractors. Forever is likely to do the same for Holograms - they may have found themselves on the hip Captured Tracks label, but its popularity could still bread discontent from those that bought wholesale into the surface annihilation.

But as Forever, and indeed Holograms attests, things are far more complex. Forever teeters on the knife edge between exultation and extermination - the wellspring of a volatile relationship with its depths deemed plumbed. And despite the four-piece mirroring the malaise and boredom that comes from feeling isolated in a cold, urban landscape, there are moments of exuberance that (shock, horror) sound almost joyous (see: the chugging rush of, well, 'Rush'; the loose limbed energy inherent on 'A Blaze on the Hillside'). The production sounds cavernous, yet deceptive - it could be coming from a dungeon, a pit, a warehouse, a coliseum. The aggression is still unbridled for the most part, but here it is harnessed with finesse. If anything, Forever has the most apt cover art of 2013 - the William Bouguereau painting at once visceral and balletic, violent yet sleek and seductive in presence and form. Holograms aren't projecting themselves onto a blank canvas, or a paper-thin expanse - this is emphatic, enmeshing, and encapsulating the times.

You can buy Forever tomorrow from here - and you really should. It's bloody awesome.

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