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Holding On for Brighter Days

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Album Review

Hold on a second. Was the 2007 release by 27, Holding on for Brighter Days, really released via Relapse Records? You mean, the label that may have released/promoted more extreme metal artists than any other label on the planet? After you're done rubbing your eyes and focusing on the label logo on the back of this CD, you'll discover that this is no mirage — it's the bloody truth! Led by singer Maria Christopher, this Boston-based group specializes in deconstructed alt pop that is reminiscent of Fiona Apple and Portishead, while Christopher's vocals are of the breathy variety. Quite a few of the tracks follow the same structural formula — starting off sleep-walking-slow before steadily gaining momentum by the time the chorus comes a-knockin' at the door — as evidenced by such ditties as "Brighter Day" and "1001 Gods." Elsewhere, trip-hop rears its head ("Closer to You"), along with a slow-rising rocker or two ("A Million Years"). 27 may be an anomaly amid all the intense metal on Relapse, but the label is also known for giving a home to artists who are unconventional and stick out from the rest of the pack. And from that standpoint, Holding on for Brighter Days shows that 27 certainly earn entry into this exclusive club. [A Japanese version with a bonus track was also released.]

Holding On for Brighter Days, 27
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