In the enigmatic landscape of Holy Nowhere’s debut album, ‘Soft Return‘, Steve Sachs takes listeners on a sonic journey that transcends the conventional boundaries of indie rock and electronic pop. The album emerges from a surprising genesis, sparked by a transformative panic attack that propelled Sachs into a creative resurgence, ultimately culminating in a collaboration with the multi-talented artist and producer Dana Why.
The album’s title, “Soft Return”, mirrors the introspective and ethereal quality of the music it houses. Sachs, once the driving force behind YJY, immerses himself in a solo project that feels both deeply personal and universally resonant. The collaboration with Dana Why, conducted remotely over the course of a year and a half, unfolds seamlessly, defying the physical distance between the artists.
The lead single, ‘Save You’, sets the tone for the album with its captivating blend of electronic beats, indie rock influences, and Sachs’ melodic vocals. The song’s lyrics, delivered with an undeniable catchiness, explore themes of existential contemplation and the absence of saviours in a seemingly indifferent world. The chorus, adorned with a hooky riff, solidifies the album’s musical prowess, leaving an indelible impression on the listener.
The accompanying music video, directed by Tommy Butler, adds a layer of visual metaphor to the track. Featuring footage from the Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake, the video cleverly underscores the absurdity of tradition and the recklessness inherent in the pursuit of elusive goals, echoing the nihilistic undertones of the song.
Dana Why’s contribution to the album is hailed by Sachs as integral to bringing the songs to life. The remote collaboration, reminiscent of The Postal Service’s creative process, results in a cohesive and polished sound that defies the challenges posed by geographical separation.
Sachs’ lyrics, while embracing a nihilistic perspective, paradoxically invite listeners to confront life’s uncertainties without relying on comforting crutches. The juxtaposition of introspective lyricism and the album’s dynamic musicality creates a textured listening experience, open to interpretation.
In the end, ‘Soft Return’ is more than a musical endeavour; it’s a testament to the resilience of creativity, the power of collaboration, and the ability to find wonder in a world that may seem devoid of magic. Holy Nowhere’s debut EP transcends genres, offering a refreshing blend of electronic pop and indie rock that leaves an indelible mark on the listener’s musical landscape.