The brother/sister duo of The Holy Roman Army, release their debut album – How The Light Gets In – on June 26th.
The Holy Roman Army are Chris and Laura Coffey, a brother and sister from Co. Carlow who offer up their own distinctive brand of loop-laden electronica. Having spent their teenage years messing around at home with Casio keyboards and tape recorders, they started writing music together again in late 2007, when Chris found himself with a load of self-produced, half-finished beats and soundscapes, and sorely in need of inspiration. The introduction of Laura’s ethereal vocals and guitar provided a more melodic influence and offered an intriguing counterpoint to Chris’ dense synth-and-sample-heavy tracks.
Released on their own Collapsed Adult label, debut album ‘How The Light Gets In’ is a distillation of their idiosyncratic musical tastes, fusing glitchy laptop beats with melodic sensibilities and referencing acts as diverse as DJ Shadow, The Notwist, Portishead and Mum. From the hushed ambience of opening track ‘Berlin’ to the dubby ‘Lastwood’ and electronic pop of ‘Neon In Our Dreams’, the album covers a broad terrain of musical influences over its eleven tracks.
The dark lyrical themes on the album are informed at times by Chris and Laura’s day jobs, working as a doctor and psychologist respectively. Expressions of loss, alienation and escape echo through the album, complimenting the music at times, as with the haunting ‘Elegy’ and ‘Empty Skies’, yet jarring compellingly with the brighter sounds of ‘Stagger Gently Home’ and ‘Neon In Our Dreams’.
‘How The Light Gets In’ was recorded by Stephen Shannon in his Dublin studio. Stephen’s ability to meld the experimental with pop sensibilities in Halfset made him the ideal producer for the album. His knack for extracting hooks from the unlikeliest of places, combined with his and Chris’ shared fondness for old-school drum machines and booming bass, has come to characterise much of the album.
The Holy Roman Army have played gigs in numerous venues across Dublin and further afield since their debut performance in January 2008, with highlights including appearances at the Future Days and Hard Working Class Heroes festivals. The band’s live show has evolved from their original two-person line-up to incorporate George Guilfoyle and Dennis Cassidy on bass and drums, adding a new dynamic to their recorded output, and features visuals gleaned from their own Super-8 footage and photography. They will be playing live shows this summer so watch out for them upstairs in whelans on June 26th and at the Castlepalooza festival Tullamore on August 1st.
Check out new music by them on their myspace here.