Holding Patterns
Endless


4.0
excellent

Review

by Zack Lorenzen USER (17 Reviews)
May 27th, 2019 | 13 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Your call has been forwarded to...

The year is 2013. The “emo revival” is in its heyday. Some newly-formed groups are just getting their foot in the door aping the sounds of their contemporaries and 90s inspirations. Some are showing more promise, but only time will tell whether their initial success will outlast the fad they ride in on.

I’ll let your own tastes determine who belongs in those two categories, but Derby-based Crash of Rhinos were surely part of a third: their members had already been playing together for the better part of a decade in other emo bands, continuing on the niche legacy of that scene before it became a momentary sensation, and combined the quintet had enough experience and foresight to set themselves apart from the sprouting movement around them. Sadly, not long after the release of their sophomore album, Knots, an especially mathy, post-rocky offering that practically screamed “look at us, we’ve got this, we know what you want and we can do it even crazier,” the band dissolved.

Six years later, the musical landscape has changed. For better or worse, emo is no longer the sound of the season it once was, and those who lacked the tenacity or originality to grab the trend by its horns and hang on have fallen by the wayside. Enter Holding Patterns. Endless is technically their “debut” album, though it’s spiritually a comeback album, as it features three former members of Crash of Rhinos. Downsizing with one less guitarist and one less bassist (let’s be real, two’s a crowd in the low end), the new power trio began writing in 2016 with the same mentality that had previously guided them: be hooky, get raucous, and have fun. This time, though, despite starting anew, the pressure to prove themselves is lessened.

And you can hear it. Where some of Crash of Rhinos’ output predicated itself on a degree of complexity for complexity’s sake, Holding Patterns’ reduced lineup seizes an opportunity for the remaining band to make more out of less. Instead of utilizing various loopers or layers upon layers of overdubs, Endless shows off a group operating with the fat mostly trimmed—only a scattering of inconsequential one-minute interludes detract from an otherwise tight and confident batch of songs slowly fine-tuned over a two-year period.

Beyond that minimal simplification, the band's core formula hasn’t changed much. Jim Cork’s guitar lines still produce a mixture of gorgeous arpeggiated twinkles and grittier punk-influenced riffage while Oli Craven’s playful presence behind the kit propels the band’s energy at their grooviest and most tender moments alike. Songs crest and recede with an effortless ear for dynamics, and while to a point the album is characterized more by workmanlike consistency and impeccable balance than it is a batch of jawdropping moments, that’s only further proof of Holding Patterns’ success in reining themselves in without sacrificing their appeal or forgetting their roots.

That said, there’s another reason I can’t single out any one musician for stealing the show here, and it’s that Endless boasts a powerful calling card: three-part vocal harmonies. Cork, Craven, and bassist Ian Draper all contribute, trading the mic from one song or stanza to the next only to erupt together in stupendous climaxes like those of early single “At Speed,” album centerpiece “Dust,” and the 8-minute epic “House Fire.” Their voices are relatively similar, all marked by a slight gruff rasp, though their range and timbre vary enough for each one to be individually distinguishable and lend their featured sections unique character. Even more importantly, their literal shared voice bestows Endless with that ubiquitous sense of communal camaraderie that can elevate even the most lethargic of emo records, and this album is certainly a step above that on its instrumental merit as well.

With the pressure to overshadow a scene gone, a humble realization that nothing is guaranteed becomes the album's defining trait. Lyrically, seemingly inspired by Crash of Rhinos’ fallout, Endless is fixated on concepts of indiscriminate chance and unrealized closure. “Centered at Zero” finds its narrator “just a speck on a ball, spinning,” while the earworm refrain of “First Responder” raises a cry of “put out a call for your last name, but the calls keep coming back to me.” It’s easy, perhaps by design, to read the album as a string of disconnected tunes about frayed relationships, but conscious or not, the way this trio’s former band evaporated on the pinnacle of recognition seems to weigh on their mind. “For this to be forgotten, I’d have to be devoted to forgetting,” Cork shouts with all his heart on highlight “No Accident.” But even if the dissatisfaction from a past break-up of love or brotherhood lingers, it’s clear that Cork, Draper, and Craven haven’t lost their mojo—best case scenario, their success just got put on hold.

Pick up the phone.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
ashcrash9
May 27th 2019


3071 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Kinda surprised no one covered this sooner. Easily one of my fave records of the year so far.



Recommended track:

https://holdingpatterns.bandcamp.com/track/no-accident



Hope y'all enjoy.

CugnoBrasso
May 27th 2019


640 Comments


Thanks for the review, I was a massive CoR fan, I need to check this.

dmathias52
May 27th 2019


579 Comments


Nice review! Have me really excited to check this, I’m a sucker for vocal harmonies.

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Pajolero
May 28th 2019


1069 Comments


Haven't checked this yet, still waiting for my vinyl copy to arrive. Been watching these boys since they first teased this project in like 2016. So happy for them.

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Zoobert
May 29th 2019


9 Comments


Yeah, this is really dope. Never heard of Crash of Rhinos so the review kind of went over my head, but well written.

Zoobert
May 29th 2019


9 Comments


The climaxes in Endless and House Fire, whew m8. That's that real good stuff.

ProjectFreak
May 30th 2019


3720 Comments


The recs have Menzingers, Braid and Jimmy Eat World? Color me intrigued. Have a pos

edit: "At Speed" gives me such strong Polar Bear Club vibes, I love it. Gonna have to give this a few more spins

CugnoBrasso
May 30th 2019


640 Comments


I got through the whole thing once and it's much more pop-punk oriented compared to CoR... I'll give it another try tomorrow but I'm not particularly impressed so far.

MrSirLordGentleman
May 30th 2019


12475 Comments


The artwork reminds me a lot of Wire's 154

Sunnyvale
May 30th 2019


1104 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've got to hear this, Crash Of Rhinos and The Little Explorer both rule hard

Pajolero
May 31st 2019


1069 Comments


Do ya'll know a lot of pop punk bands that have 6+ minute songs? Are we listening to different records here? Because what I'm hearing sounds more in the vein of Hot Water Music, or some of J. Robbins' bands like Jawbox and Burning Airlines, plus some massive nods to Trail of Dead.

CugnoBrasso
May 31st 2019


640 Comments


I don't dislike this, I just think it's in the 3-3.5 realm so far. It lacks some of the intricatedness that made Knots such a good record, but the dynamics and the arpeggi are on point.

Sunnyvale
May 31st 2019


1104 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Interesting album, it moves more towards pop-punk, but retains a lot of similarities to Crash Of Rhinos. Good stuff, but I'll see if grows on me.



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