Holyfield - Holyfield
Record Label: None
Release Date: April 9, 2008
I'm going to cast aside the possibility of using a creative or literature-savvy opening line and just blatantly say that I like Holyfield. They are (were) a Seattle based powerpop/electronica band that rocks like an un-cocky Angels and Airwaves, but with more powerpop lollipop (read: powerpop flavor), making their debut Holyfield a wonderful spring/summer experience. If you don't like the fact that there are twice as many "summer" albums than albums for the other hapless seasons, stay away from Holyfield, which only exacerbates the fact. Otherwise, for the majority who enjoy a solid guilty pleasure here and there, you might as well quit reading this review and go out and purchase this record right now.
Based on the RIYL section and the previous description "powerpop/electronica," you probably already have a rough, but pretty accurate idea of what this album sounds like. While it's something you'd expect to find the pop/punk scene kids listening to, it also comes in a good several levels above its peers. As the verse of the opening "Another Way" arrives, listeners are struck immediately with song writing more mature than what a band like All Time Low could write. Simple and generic? Yes, but at the same time, catchy and enjoyable. The band emulates Hellogoodbye on "A Nightmare Regarding My Lack of Sleep," but they're most laudable when they manage to branch out into hard rock and at times, even hardcore genres with numbers like "Act Faded," "Fighter," and "Colored in Red." The overall strong structure in "Colored in Red" (which actually employs some Thrice/Underoath-esque screams) could use some work, but for the most part, Holyfield pulls off both "Act Faded" and "Fighter" very well (with the former sporting an intensely shrill bridge).
Lyrically, as expected, the band could take some pointers from some of the better lyricists in the genre (well, if there are any). "Well I've got plans to let you in, And you've got a way to share / Nobody else is coming here, I've got a way to care / You've got a way to break it off, Like I can just watch it shoo / And I got a way to let you know, I don't know what you do" demonstrates what should be labeled as an infection of too many pronouns, and the lyrics probably refer to a guy/girl relationship. Nevertheless, there's a good deal of healthy optimism, presented with a manner not unlike: "Everything will work out, if it's all okay / I've got me a perfect plan to get away / Everything will work out, as I see what's been true / You've got all those wasted nights, around from here to you / Nobody else is changing, and I have paid my dues / Turned me off from all those things you said you would do / Suddenly I feel wasted I need to separate / From all the drugs and alcohol I did today." Cheesy maybe, but encouragingly optimistic regardless.
If you purchased or downloaded Holyfield while reading this review and found yourself enjoying it, I'm sorry to say that the band has already embarked on a long hiatus which will most likely result in a permanent breakup. Some of the band members are joining Burning Tree Project, while others, Amber Pacific. It's safe to say that, with potential factored in, Holyfield surpassed Amber Pacific and, on some levels, Burning Tree Project. But notice that that is with potential factored in as Holyfield still bears marks of a hesitant debut album. For the very same reason, however, Holyfield should not be analyzed too critically; it is, at its core, a "summer" release, and an infectious one at that.