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TRACK LIST: 1. More than Memories 4:16 2. Time and Space 3:33 3. Eye for an Eye 4:28 4. Honor 3:47 5. Only a Dream 2:59 6. Half Empty 4:13 7. No More Lies 4:00 8. The Dark Rift 4:01 9. Whole 2:33 LINEUP: Shawn Burnette guitar, bass; vocals; effects Mary White vocals; percussion With: Andy Reamer drums Dwayne Fulton percussion
Prolusion. The US act HOLOSTREAM is, from what I understand, a duo consisting of Shawn Burnette and Mary White. This according to third party sources, as the band's own homepage is rather limited as far as concrete information goes. As the description under the tag of band members has it, they "are susceptible to blending idiocy and artistry self being the only obstacle". So far this low profile act has one release to its name, the CD "Time and Space", which was self-released in 2007.
Analysis. Some may be familiar with main man Shawn Burnette from one of his other ventures, namely 23 Current, which released its one and so far only production "Curve of the Universe" back in 2005. And like this more recent project, this was a duo venture too, involving Burnette and Andy Reamer. These two projects share quite a lot of common ground, beyond the scope of apparently being creative vehicles for the secretive composer and multi-instrumentalist behind both bands. The main stylistic trait of Burnette's creations is a low-key variety of hard rock. Rather sophisticated in approach, it relies on the utilization of subtle effects on all the mans endeavors. No major dramatics are applied, hardly any minor ones either. This is a relaxed form of the genre, with more references towards indie and mainstream rock than to art rock or generic hard rock. The songs are all brief in length, clocking in at under 5 minutes, and the foundation on most efforts is provided by the bass guitar. Dampened, drawn-out, recurring riff patterns are applied alongside undistorted or acoustic guitars catering to the gentler nuances, while careful percussion and sparingly used drums maintain the momentum and provide the needed rhythmical components. Burnette's lead vocals have been placed in between these instrumental layers in the arrangements, his partially traditional and partially whispered vocals always dampened and relaxed and in most cases supplemented by the pipes of Mary White. The dual vocal approach works rather well, giving these songs an even gentler touch. The songs themselves aren't spectacular affairs in any way, however: nice and easygoing without managing to make an impression beyond the average. Burnette's slightly limited vocal range is to some extent a part of this, as vocal-heavy songs such as these tend to come across much better when a highly talented singer is involved. And while these creations can't be said to be markedly weaker than most other material I encounter, there aren't any parts of the performance that manage to add any major points of brilliance to the proceedings either. Which adds up to a well-made and well-performed album, but without any major strengths that will give it a marked wide appeal.
Conclusion. Ardent art rock fans might find this album to be rather uninteresting, with the Pink Floyd-tinged instrumental effort Whole being probably the only track that can be described as progressive on this production. But if you find the thought of listening to a relaxed and sophisticated version of hard rock to be of interest, or perhaps even have been looking for a band with a take on this genre that avoid dramatic and cliched approaches, Holostream may just be a band for you, especially if you are intrigued by dark-tinged and melancholic moods.
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