The Holy Mess - Cande Ru Las Degas
Release Date: August 14, 2012
Record Label: Red Scare
In the world of gruff-vocals punk rock, bands come a dime a dozen. But bearing strong resemblance to some of the better releases in the genre from last year, The Holy Mess’ Cande Ru Las Degas begs for the spotlight. With favorable comparisons to Red City Radio’s The Dangers of Standing Still and Nothington’s Borrowed Time, The Holy Mess’ latest offering feels familiar without feeling worn out.
Unlike most of the bands playing this style of punk, The Holy Mess decided to go with a slower opening track instead of an explosive one (actually, Red City Radio did that too, so I guess I’m an idiot), but let me tell you, the slower opener works. “My Boring ‘90s” is cool because you can make out the lyrics on your first try, since it’s slower and not as intense. But it’s also cool because by the time the drum bursts and gnarly guitar riff that introduce “Within The Range of A Raven” come into the fray, you’ve already waited two-and-a-half minutes to start yelling along to a song and now you’re ready and rearing to go. “Within The Range of A Raven” is undoubtedly one of the catchier numbers here, but it just serves as a warm-up for the rest of Cande Ru Las Degas.
The gems on this album, like “Cold Goodbyes” and “Asleep In A Room Full of Dog Shit,” are the songs where The Holy Mess completely unravel. On the latter, the gravelly vocals turn into angry-sounding screams, proving a powerful delivery. The Holy Mess is most likely a band that needs to be witnessed in a live capacity – much like The Menzingers’ On the Impossible Past, the songs on Cande Ru Las Degas are too emotive and too intense to listen to on a laptop for your whole life.
The Holy Mess isn’t just wielding around a hammer with brute force throughout this entire record, though. There are some tricks up the band’s sleeve, like on “A Song for Tim Browne To Sing,” where an ever-so-slight twang toward southern rock makes its way to the forefront. On that song, when the guitar riff chimes in over repeated cries of “Don’t leave me” in the bridge, a country vibe is undeniable, but it’s written in a way that sits well with the punk rock backbone. It’s these subtle curveballs that keep Cande Ru Las Degas moving at an interesting clip, and when you pair something like that with the double-time, frantic pace of “Half That and Dublin,” you have a record with more than enough variety for this genre.
The Holy Mess didn’t dig up anything new during the writing sessions of Cande Ru Las Degas - none of the Lawrence Arms disciple bands really do - but they did uncover a hell of a punk rock album. And even though it's not new, that definitely doesn't mean I'm not going to have it on repeat all year. If you’re like me, and you hold The Menzingers’ On The Impossible Past as one of your most treasured albums this year, go ahead and check out Cande Ru Las Degas. The records aren’t really in the same vein of punk rock, but The Holy Mess shares an intrinsic quality that The Menzingers have honed – the ability to keep you coming back and playing the same half-hour of punk rock over and over again. This is a wrecking ball of a record.