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  • David Bentley

The Holy - ‘I Don’t Know’ (single from album 'Mono Freedom')

Finland’s The Holy have released their second album ‘Mono Freedom’ via Playground Music, a mechanical kraut, layered alt-rock record with elements of electronica and prog.

This is the third visit of The Holy to these pages this year. They are always value for money though I thought the previous single, The Rocket Song’, was perhaps a little too grand for its own good.

This latest one, ‘I Don’t Know’ is about being bipolar, and might be a little more ‘personal’ than its predecessor. One of the band members – sorry but I don’t know which one, the quote wasn’t accredited, but I suspect it is front man Eetu, says,

“This song is basically about being bipolar. At least on some level. I have no diagnosis and I might not be the right person to talk about it, but I've been struggling for the most part of my life with heavy mania vs. depression and it has taken a huge toll on a lot of things. I have found a way to live with it and function in society nowadays, but it still takes a lot of work every day. It also gives a lot though, being in the deep end of mania is like a drug from the future and I do get a lot of things done. But it’s also super hard to keep that level and it brings you down really, really low when you just can’t.

I learned from a silly love themed TV show that it's good to talk about it. To give the people around you some knowledge about it and tools to work with you. So I ended up writing this song and tried to open it slowly. The tune is pretty uplifting and I wanted it to be light and kind of funny, because the last thing I want is to add a shadow of darkness and depression over the matter and keep repeating the pattern of adding shame on this kind of stuff. That it is some mystic dark depressive thing etc. It is just a thing. We all have our things.”

I printed that out in full because it’s a serious song about a serious subject so it helps to know where they are coming from.

The way the song starts, with discordant screeching violins and guitars and a banging headache beat, (sorry to keep punning this) you definitely would know that it is a song about a form of mental illness, in the first few seconds.

Thereafter it belts along at a heck of a pace to an increasingly manic beat and it all but explodes at the end. In fact it’s 100% manic and 0% depressive, so perhaps they missed a trick there, a gentler bridge might have provided some bipolar balance?

The lyrics might be cut from articles or letters in the British Medical Journal or The Lancet, and probably offer a better diagnosis than you’d get by calling the NHS Helpline.

“I always wake up three to four hours late / I rarely open any letters they send / It’s hard enough to answer my phone / I never get anything done / I’m better at letting go”.

The doctor will see you now, Mr Eetu.

But then, “They try to bring me down and crush all my dreams/They try to light me on fire and steal all that I’ve got/ But I say no, I won’t let them in”. That sounds more like paranoia while “Like the distant cousin of Midas, I break everything I touch/In every relationship I get more than I give/I keep trying and trying but it’s clearly not enough/I feel like a dog left alone in the park” simply suggests you need to try harder.

One thing I did notice about this song straight away is that its frenzied relentlessness is highly reminiscent of ‘Blank Vision’ by Sweden’s Ambage, which was a Video of the Week a while ago. That song is similarly about a form of mental illness: panic attacks. I labelled it as one of the highlights of 2019 and The Holy’s effort here doesn’t fall far short of it.

Now if they could just produce a video to match it…

‘Mono Freedom’ is available physically and on all major DSPs via Playground Music.

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