Following their phenomenal LP, Otherworld, Holy Golden have released an immersive, 7-track EP, Sleepwalkers in the Milky Way. For the uninitiated, Holy Golden is the combo of the ethereal voice of Leslie Schott and the immense, sharp guitar work of Andrew Valenti. They also radiate this carefully-crafted aesthetic between their music, videos, and photographs, and Sleepwalkers in the Milky Way is no different.
“Lost Island” kicks the record off with the familiar Holy Golden sound. Schott’s voice floats over Valenti’s guitar work and programmed drums. Schott’s voice paints vivid imagery with her lyrics, from spilling ice cream to the infectious chorus of “Who cares anymore?”. On “Strength”, the listener is greeted with a nice layer of synth and a hypnotic chorus.
“Seven of Diamonds” is an enormous track. Its guitar work is impeccable, and the drums drive the whole thing forward. The lyrics are powerful and reflective with Schott singing, “I find it funny that I find you / In things you wouldn’t believe in”. It’s followed by another moving track, “Sun Swallows the Moon”, which possesses a vibe akin to witnessing the day’s first sun, as the title references. From its drums to its guitar work, to its lyrical references to nature, it is a knockout of a track.
On “Lock Jaw”, Holy Golden’s ability to create ethereal escapism is once again on display. They continue with the nature imagery, singing of Alligators, white horses, and blue snakes. Yet, the song possesses a confessional feeling, as the protagonist struggles with reality and admits:
“There are things that are over my head, over my head
And there are lies I shouldn’t have said, have said.”
Before offering a glimmer of hope:
“I know heaven is bound to come.
With all the hell I’ve been running from”.
On “Wheel of Fortune”, Sleepwalkers in the Milky Way begins to deconstruct. Featuring mostly just Schott’s gorgeous vocals and a tingling guitar with little scattered signs of drums or synthesizers, the song is a true stunner. It sets up the closer, “Sleepwalkers in the Milky Way” quite nicely. All the electronics are removed, as if to indicate the journey to the end of the universe is complete. At the terminus are Schott, Valenti, and an acoustic guitar, who enchant with a simple but dazzling track. As Valenti plays, Schott delivers some of the record’s most compelling lyrics:
“This story has a happy ending.
The characters wake up and stop pretending.”
Sleepwalkers in the Milky Way sounds like a cassette recovered from an alternate universe. Each note, every tone, each word is carefully crafted by Holy Golden to fit into their universe. Their sound is like none other, as they draw inspiration from many different genres and artists. They also show off their versatility on Sleepwalkers, diving into an acoustic track that leaves a huge impression on a listener. Sleepwalkers is another enthralling chapter in the saga of Holy Golden.
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