Glinting jangle-pop churned with the soft-edges and everchanging colours of early summer sunsets, PENDULUM is the latest dopamine hit of hazy melody from multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter, James Holt, released on Fri 15 May 2020. A reputed musical revolutionary otherwise painting his own signposts to an artistic peak, Holt switches from self-determined isolation to unholy alliance by enlisting The Coral’s song-wrangler, James Skelly on production duties for the first time alongside the mixing talents of Chris Taylor.
Slide-guitar whines into verses dressed with the tinsel of gently played glockenspiel and gossamer-light, finger-picked chords dance over the ballast of Holt’s acoustic rhythm playing, all vacuum-packed into concentrated dose of melody. As an antidote to malaise, Pendulum’s effects are reminiscent of medications prescribed by legendary pop/rock clinicians Johnny Marr, Crowded House, Squeeze and Jeff Lynne. A straight kid walking into a psychedelic orgy, part of his native Lancashire and part the sounds of the sun-kissed West Coast, Skelly described Holt during sessions at Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios as “like Scott Walker backed by Echo and the Bunnymen.”
“The song is generally about the endless cycle of revenge,” James said speaking of the lyric content. “There are so many cool ideas that feed into the ‘Pendulum’ theme of the song, like the way the opening riff revolves back and forth around two chords and how the story ends where it began to create a narrative loop. It packs a punch and gets the point across in so few words, I like songs like that.”
Theoretically and spiritually tuned into numerous instruments and a prolific creator, Holt played everything barring drums on the track, with Skelly offering backing vocals. Holt has been praised by other esteemed peers, including Brian Eno for previous releases and performances, with the legendary ex-Roxy Music musician and prolific producer describing him as “fresh and exciting.” Based in Bolton near Manchester, Holt has garnered a strong following in his home city playing to sell out audiences at various venues including Deaf Institute, while also selling out the Hope and Anchor, London and taking to festival stages including Kendal Calling, Sound City and Head For The Hills. His next performs live in a headline appearance at Band On the Wall, Manchester on Fri 23 October 2020.
Holt’s achievements in music, beyond each accomplished note of tracks like Pendulum, yield further, deserved admiration by the fact that he was diagnosed with bilateral moderate-to-severe hearing loss at the age of four.
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