Quit +/or Fight
Label: Sub Pop
Catalog #: 70639
Gainesville, Florida’s Holopaw (named after a Florida town none of them are from) rises to more textural, delicate artistic heights on Quit and/or Fight, the follow-up to their 2003 self-titled Sub Pop debut. Since the release of Holopaw the band has toured extensively with labelmates Iron and Wine and “Fruit Bats”http://www.subpop.com/artists/fruit_bats. You might also recall vocalist John Orth from Ugly Casanova’s Sharpen Your Teeth from a few years back; he co-wrote that with Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse).
Recorded by Mike Pecchio, resident producer at Scandalabra Studios in Brooklyn, NY, and with the aide of The Mercury Program’s Tom Reno and Dave LeBleu (strings and vibes) and Daedelus (winds), each dynamic track on Quit and/or Fight, tells its tale through sweet, understated and complexly orchestrated melody that engages as it soothes. Thick with strings, winds, drunken bossanova percussion (“3 Shy Cubs”), stomping, handclaps, wine bottles, synths, and thrift store furniture-as-instruments, the album shows a band unafraid of brash creativity and improvisational instrumentation. The album’s “Ghosties” showcases the strength of vocalist John Orth, a one-man choir swelling out of nowhere to run with the melody, and later the band’s deeply organic, thick fuzz-bass unearths the sweet lament of “Velveteen (all is bright).” Just when “Losing Light” threatens again and again to burst at the seams, Holopaw pulls back the reigns, quieting the song’s core back into a hush. The end result: an improbable group of individuals all coming together to create an album that is quietly moving, filled with small gestures that speak volumes.