The Holloways, 'So This Is Great Britain?' (TVT)

So This Is Great Britain?
Critical Mass
Label: TVI

by David Peisner

The title track to the Holloways' debut is a stinging, if jaunty, rebuke of Britain's shallow booze-, sex-, and celebrity-fueled culture ("A sinking ship that's full of shit and someone nicked the oars"). But rather than forsaking the sleaze, they dive in headfirst, searching for a meaningful pulse. On the charging, anthemic "Dancefloor," co-frontman Alfie Jackson dissects a night out clubbing in withering emotional detail. The exuberant ska-pop shuffle "Nothing for the Kids" casts fucking and fighting as just a way to keep the boredom at bay. Harmonicas, fiddles, and shambling grooves hint at surprising musical touchstones (Dexy's Midnight Runners, calypso) that complement the more expected (the Libertines, Arctic Monkeys). But even when the tunes feel derivative, they remain infectious.

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