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Quit +/or Fight

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Album Review

Though they take their name from a town in Florida, it would be easy to think that Holopaw's namesake is a delicate, almost unearthly creature, especially after hearing the band's second album, Quit +/or Fight. While the band's self-titled debut provided a unique, intimate take on the spare, space cowboy side of alt-country, this album dives into folky, soft rock maximalism. "3-shy-cubs" and "Holiday" in particular reflect Quit +/or Fight's '70s leanings (and the latter track's pedal steel is pretty much all that's left of the band's alt-country sound). Holopaw introduced the band's talent for creating a subtly but distinctively dreamlike atmosphere, and Quit +/or Fight ups the ante by adding even more depth and drama to Holopaw's reveries. The aptly named "Curious" is made even more so thanks to John Orth's almost unnervingly pretty, androgynous falsetto and the flute-like synths and bass clarinets that surround it. Meanwhile, Orth's shivery vibrato makes "Velveteen (All Is Bright)"'s reindeer's-eye perspective on a Christmas Eve sleigh ride that much more evocative. The album closes with two of its finest tracks: "Ghosties" manages to be sunny and spooky at the same time, lifted by clouds of Orth's harmonies, while the lovely acoustic ballad "Shiver Me" somehow manages to conflate a winter's day and a pirate ship sailing at night. Both songs reflect Holopaw's genius for finding the strange in the ordinary, and sometimes vice versa. "Found (Quit +/or Fight)" takes its lyrics from Found Magazine, which is an apt source of inspiration for a band whose music sounds so unpredictable and natural. Both intimate and powerful, Quit +/or Fight is a striking achievement.


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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Quit +/or Fight, Holopaw
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