Exclaim Magazine, Apr 2002
By Rob Bolton
A much-delayed follow up to 1999’s Phonic 50mg album, Toronto’s Hollowphonic bring us this six-song EP that continues their tradition of creating excellent, dreamy guitar music. Considering it was recorded without any budget for their Pharmasound label, Majestic is impressively accomplished, incorporating a wider array of instruments, even allowing an acoustic guitar or a xylophone to be heard over the washes of delayed guitar. This signature guitar sound and Brad Ketchen’s watery vocals are still present, although the material has a more diverse structure this time, with tracks like "Let Yourself Go” showing how they have the ability to create great pop songs. Supposedly a year in the making, this EP is a sign of good things to come if the lads keep up the pace. With Sianspheric back in action again these days, it’s good to see that Canadians aren’t afraid to make this type of music; utilising sounds and chords that inspire a mood or a feeling rather than a knee-jerk reaction to rock hooks or lyrics. Granted, there is still ground to make up between Hollowphonic and genre pioneers like Radiohead or Spiritualized, but given the obvious gap in experience and financial support, the guys are doing pretty well if this EP is any indication of what lies ahead.
By Henry Lentz Ng
Releasing a CD-EP with a title like "Majestic" is anything but abject. For Hollowphonic though, it does seem ironic for this 6-track EP is anything but that. On this second release, it triumphants with foreboding calamities, beauty in its purest essence and music in its most perturbing form. Naming it "Majestic", it seems, is not even close to a mistake.
Bleakly titled, "No Promises" is the maudlin schmaltz. It is the soothing of all trepidations with its recurring music box melodies, accompanied by insouciant loops and
ebbing guitar washes. Lacerating it is, it is even more
compelling how such a laconic dirge could possess the pathos to drive pensive tears.
No less ruminating is "Sonar Wave". With its somewhat latent production, frequencies sound trapped. Inadvertently or otherwise, it manages to linger in
the faint shadows and effortlessly scar. More Mogwai than say, Auburn Lull, every note resonates and calls for indulgent reveries.
"Let Yourself Go" is the savouring of those last moments atop an edifice before taking the plunge. Not in any way a suicidal anthem but it certainly seems appropriate
to be written off as that. Its shimmering vocals patiently
yearns for delirium, patiently evoking the doppleganger of
oneself. It nearly reminds of the finale in "Vanilla Sky" where Tom Cruise chooses to end his torment, in paean elegance . As the song breaks into a second loop, one
falls into the magical world of forgotten memories.
"Majestic" is not concerned with alacrity or the usual guitar tumult. It does embody them but not in surfeit. It is easily shoved as a gaunt listen, often obfuscated by its haunting melodies and tremulous vocals. In spite of that, its results are heart felt at times, convoluted on others. It
is a contrite limbo that would incessantly percolate. Deep.