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Oh, Glory. Oh, Wilderness.

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Album Review

Holopaw's third album marks a turning point for the Florida-based band, encompassing a label change, a drastic personnel shift, and a significant stylistic evolution. After two albums for Sub Pop, they've switched to an imprint closer to home, settling at the Sunshine State's Bakery Outlet Records. Only singer John Orth and guitarist Jeff Hays remain from the lineup that recorded 2005's Quit +/or Fight, and they've built up a new Holopaw around them, expanding their sound in the process. Earlier, they occupied a position not unlike that of Lambchop, which is to say that they were repeatedly and mistakenly labeled as alt-country for bearing the faintest outward trappings of the genre — i.e., use of pedal steel. But with Oh, Glory. Oh, Wilderness., the Lambchop comparison extends one step further, in that both bands definitively transcended such nearsighted categorizations by embracing a fuller, more orchestral, and even more idiosyncratic approach. For Holopaw, a lot of that has to do with the contributions of new cellist Christa Molinaro and multi-instrumentalist Matt Radick, as well as the guests who sit in on horns and additional strings — they lay out elegant, artfully arranged pillows of sound for Orth and Hays' ambitious compositions, ensuring that no one will ever call Holopaw "alt-country" again. As always, Orth's high, tremulous warble remains something of a love-it-or-hate-it proposition, but hey, that hasn't stopped legions of admirers from falling all over the similarly situated likes of, say, the Dirty Projectors. And while Orth's lyrics sometimes tend toward the elliptical, his songs are never less than gracefully crafted, and his passionate delivery leaves little doubt that there's a fervent desire to connect behind every single one of them. ~ J. Allen, Rovi


Formed: Gainesville, FL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Gainesville, Florida's delicate indie country-rock group Holopaw features singer/songwriter/guitarist John Orth, who worked with Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock on his side project Ugly Casanova. Brock brought Orth's band to the attention of Sub Pop, who signed Holopaw and released their self-titled debut in early 2003. Two years later, the band offered another collection of pretty, intimate songs, Quit+/or Fight. Though the lineup fluctuated, in 2009 the band resurfaced with Oh, Glory....
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Oh, Glory. Oh, Wilderness., Holopaw
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