Holiday Ghosts present their mission statement

Holiday Ghosts may be from Brighton, but it was their connection to Nottingham that put them on my radar – Coat of Arms was recorded and mixed by Phil Booth, head honcho of Nottingham’s fruit-and-veg-store-turned-DIY-music-venue, JT Soar. 

The mastermind behind albums by the likes of Sleaford Mods and Jake Bugg, Booth is an exciting name to have on board, and with this being his second rodeo with Holiday Ghosts, I was eager to see what they could do this time around. 

The initial feeling when seeing the album’s ten-song tracklist is that Holiday Ghosts have taken a succinct, focused approach here, and on listening to the full album, you learn that they have taken their signature style, infused some new elements, and remained true to their vision throughout. 

The new elements are perhaps not any new instruments, or new genres, but more of a change in tone and mood that the music provides. Self-assured indie music has always been their brand, but there seems to be a new lease of energy injected into the proceedings, giving their sound a more upbeat, punky attitude throughout. 

This feeling is continued through the lyrical content, which touches on themes of politics and activism; ‘Sublime Disconnect’ speaks of vocalist and drummer Katja Rackin’s struggle with her identity after moving from Sweden to England as a child, grappling to stay connected to her Iranian heritage, while ‘Big Congratulations’ tackles the topic of excess and consumerism. 

Photo Credit: James Sharp

Elsewhere, the band’s guitarist and backing vocalist Benedict Nightingale takes the reins on the album’s title track, demonstrating how collaborative the process of making Coat of Arms was for the band, with members feeling comfortable and assured enough to swap roles and find new ways that they fit into the Holiday Ghosts machine. 

The lyrics of this track, which are about the journey of learning to know yourself, represent the album as a whole. It feels like Holiday Ghosts are on a mission; they know who they are, they know exactly what they want to achieve, and they have set out to accomplish it. There is no distraction or temptation to experiment with any different avenues or variations of their sound.

The result here is a band who appear confident in who they are and how they want to sound. By experimenting over the eight years since they formed, and refusing to allow themselves to be shoehorned into any genre categorisation, they are now able to produce a project which brings everything that makes Holiday Ghosts who they are, together, in a neat package. 

Coat of Arms is a short and sweet listen; it can be viewed as a mission statement for everything Holiday Ghosts have achieved so far, and everything they plan to go on to achieve next. The past eight years of their career have culminated in these ten songs, leaving the band sounding more self-assured and certain of the path they want to take than ever before.   

Haiku review:
A mission statement
Bold, concise, succinct and neat
Eight years in ten songs

Holiday Ghosts’ new LP is available now on all major streaming platforms. You can also purchase the record directly from the band via their Bandcamp page.

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