It’s been three years since the Brighton based trio Demob Happy released their debut album. Those three years have been spent touring and honing their sound, and their latest LP, Holy Doom highlights just how much they’ve learnt in that time.
‘Liar in Your Head’ explodes with characteristic chunky guitar riffs, but Demob Happy’s experimentation with their sound and the weight of their riffs is evident. It’s clear that the band are still themselves, but there’s growth within this album that shows a maturity that perhaps wasn’t there before. ‘Loosen It’ is one such track that highlights the accessibility of the band now; this song could easily be compared to Royal Blood’s earlier tracks, but the subtly evolving guitar riffs that have been layered over solid bass riffs both pique the listener’s interest and show that Demob Happy are staying true to their obscure grunge roots.
The first noticeably different track on Holy Doom is ‘Runnin’ Around’. This 5-minute-long beauty of a song plays with different tactics: it’s a slow grower with a massive chorus, but the cleverly written verses are the focal point here. Subtle vocals create an atmosphere of raw emotion that gets shattered the instant the chorus kicks in. Demob Happy have always been known for defying genre boundaries and their clever song writing skills – they’re just taking things in a slightly new direction with their latest creation.
An Alice in Wonderland style of weird is brought to mind with ‘I Wanna Leave (Alive)’. The almost nonsensical lyrics, layers of vocals, and changing tempos creates a wonderful whirlwind of confusion. With droning bass lines and explosive guitar riffs, Demob Happy’s more cryptic side is clear here. Title track, ‘Holy Doom’ opens with punchy drums and eerie vocals that fit perfectly with poignant and reverberating guitar licks. Various layers of vocals and instruments fluctuate in and out of range before reaching an artfully cacophonous end, and it would be easy to summarise this track as the band’s strangest and most experimental yet.
A contrast to the highly polished tracks on Holy Doom is ‘Spinning Out’. It’s fast paced, and a classic messy grunge track that’s a clear homage to Dream Soda, the band’s debut. Spinning Out is short and sweet but has got Demob Happy’s usual injection of strangeness. Closing the album is ‘Fresh Outta Luck’, a lighter and more relaxed track with catchy guitar riffs and a more pop-inspired vibe.
Holy Doom is quite clearly an album that has been written by a band that have both grown as people and matured as musicians. No longer are they writing tracks that are purely an onslaught of noise but are instead creating carefully constructed masterpieces. Of course the bare bones of Demob Happy haven’t been changed; the hefty bass lines, clever riffs and punchy drums that were so obvious in their first release have been cleverly added to. This new direction creates a solid album that is both enjoyable and inspiring and is sure to make for some interesting live shows.