Adult Fear (Reverberation Appreciation Society)
Reviewed by Rachel Rascoe, Fri., April 13, 2018
El Paso transplants Holy Wave bathe listeners in dreamy distortion, languid layers of keyboard-prominent psychedelia flowing inevitably toward a distant shore. On fourth voyage Adult Fear, the local fivepiece hunkers down behind drummer Julian Ruiz and Dustin Zozaya on bass, the rhythm duo fusing the group's undeniable lysergic identity with Ariel Pink-style freak pop and smart reverb rock acts like Mild High Club. "How Was I Supposed to Know?" lets Ryan Fuson's subtle phrasing take the wheel, modern discontent listing with "Paid a visit to my brand new therapist/ Sent a letter to my state representative." The slinky single highlights the more traditional, lyric-led direction of the LP before a sharp left into antsy, eight-minute "Habibi." Kyle Hager's backing falsetto melds with Fuson's downtrodden vox, super spaced out between chugging interludes for an Albert Camus-inspired commentary on betrayal. Working through accents of shoegaze ("Dixie Cups") and pastoral Sixties pop ("David's Flower"), Adult Fear arrives at the abrasively dreary "Crys." The ensuing title track then confirms the album's ultimately anxious undercurrent of melancholy. In full, nine tracks strike a balance between pop-structured stoicism and Holy Wave's foundation in lush, active instrumentals. It's tactile enough to run your fingers through while evading a tight grip.