Holmes: Holmes

RIYL: Steely Dan, G. Love, Rufus Wainwright

While the landscape is positively littered with pop culture-spewing, post-ironic hipsters, Roy Shakked, the one-man wrecking crew that is Silverlake’s Holmes, gets a free pass solely for “Let Go,” the opening track on his band’s self-titled effort and easily the best stoner song Steely Dan never wrote. Like Donald Fagen, Shakked is smart and a little bored, delivering his detached vocals over pristinely arranged cafĂ© pop songs awash in sunny backing vocals. The most unintentionally funny thing about Holmes is how hard it tries to slack; “Gone” quotes Cameo’s “Word Up” just a tad behind the beat in traditional So-Cal hip hop style, and has one of those plinkety-plink hip hop piano bits propelling it along, but the album is far too ornate to be the work of a slacker. Shakked pulls an unpredictable left turn on “Go Computer,” a Weezer-esque guitar stomper with vocals smothered in slap echo. It’s a neat trick, but he’s clearly more comfortable mining mellow gold.

The heart of a showman beats inside these songs – wait until you hear what he’s done to David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” – and the sooner Holmes embraces it, the better off he’ll be. He’s good now, but the cutesy stuff is holding him back. (Groove Gravy Records 2009)

Holmes MySpace page


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