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Unloved (David Holmes) - Guilty of Love (Review)

Unloved, Guilty of Love

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

ANY new musical venture involving David Holmes is always going to be interesting and worth hearing and Unloved – his latest project – is no different.

A collaboration between Holmes, film and TV composer Keefus Ciancia (True Detective) and songwriter-vocalist Jade Vincent (The Jade Vincent Experiment), Unloved are a band borne from ’60s girl groups and classic film scores. And the results can frequently be intoxicating.

But there’s also an experimental side to things that make some tracks less accessible and more trying than others. There’s a marked difference between those that sweep you off your feet and those that struggle to get going.

At its best, the album succeeds in delivering moments of sometimes breath-taking beauty, as in the opening salvo and title track Guilty of Love, which offers a head-rush of influences. For starters, there are those sexy girl vocals from Vincent that are married to slick beat arrangements (of which Arnold can typically be proud), retro guitar sounds and a distinct cinematic influence. It’s Morricone with a psychedelic edge.

While When A Woman Is Around hypnotically blends swirling vintage soundscapes (the type of which wouldn’t sound out of place on a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack) with sexy girl vocals – some of which dip into deeply dreamy territory.

It has a deliciously retro ’60s vibe capable of appealing to the Swinging mojo of Austin Powers, as well as the coolness of a Holmes creation that would just as easily find its way onto a future Ocean’s 11-style movie.

Damned, on the other hand, manages to capture all-girl ’60s pop laced with slight ’80s influences (think Bananarama or The Bangles mixed with The Ravenonettes), while Silvery Moon is a trip into the utterly chilled out and blissful.

There are even Lalo Schifrin-inspired beats and ’70s hip-hop influences swirling around the dangerous sounding I Could Tell You But I’d Have To Kill, before Vincent’s vocals add a deeply psychedelic edge… sending you into trip-hop territory of the completely surreal variety. It’s playful and even flirts with becoming annoying… but thanks to Holmes’ tight control of the beats, in particular, and a catchy chorus, this one still manages to retain the necessary air of cool.

Ever mindful of the cinematic influence of this latest venture, Holmes tip-toes into David Lynch territory with tracks like After Dinner and Forever Unloved – the latter, in particular, bringing the album to a close with a trippy comedown of a track that sounds, by turns, disarmingly serene, more than a little dangerous and sometimes frustrating. You kind of feel there should be just a little bit more to it.

Similarly, with tracks like Grounded, Holmes and company veer too far into experimental territory, only to emerge on the wrong side of annoying. The darkness that permeates here comes in stark contrast to the beauty that lies in Guilty of Love and threatens to disrupt the album’s momentum.

But in spite of such detours, Unloved do more than enough to make them worth listening to – and when they get it right, the results are achingly cool.

Watch the video for When A Woman Is Around

Watch Guilty of Love

Download picks: Guilty of Love, Damned, When A Woman Is Around, I Could Tell You But I’d Have To Kill You

Track listing:

  1. Guilty Of Love
  2. After Dinner
  3. Damned
  4. Cry Baby Cry
  5. When A Woman Is Around
  6. Xpectations
  7. This Is The Time
  8. The Ground
  9. I Could Tell You But I’d Have To Kill
  10. We Are Unloved
  11. Silvery Moon
  12. Forever Unloved