A four-year gap between albums can induce mixed feelings in fans. In the case of Sydney’s The Holidays, they return with a highly likeable psychedelic pop record that makes you feel you’re on, well, holidays. Real Feel introduces a diverse scope of new elements to the group’s music, adding a darker presence on glimmering summer beats.
In similar vein to 2010’s Post Paradise, the band’s debut full length record, interjecting melodies and harmonies are heavily layered – it takes multiple listens of Real Feel to feel like you’ve completely wrapped your head around all the textures.
Their debut was a light-hearted mix of sun-drenched pop that sounded like a cover of a Real Estate cover. Essentially, The Holidays didn’t take many risks on Post Paradise, but this extended break between records has allowed the band to open up and really explore their music making. Elements of trip-hop leak through the album with the first instance found of the anthem Home. The album allows no time for failure with opener Long Now making a brisk start with arguably the band’s best chorus – giving All Time High a run for its money.
Real Feel touches on some darker, progressive song writing. Some songs act as holiday retreats, not delving too deeply into the lyrics’ meanings, others are angsty memories which may answer questions as to why the group’s second album took as long as it did to be released.
Real Feel is not a demanding listen, nor a Bleeding Knees Club 28-minute “album’s sake to make an album”. The Holidays blend countless genres into multi-layered pop delights which could be summer anthems for some. The Holidays can take another four years to create their next record if it’s going to turn out anything like Real Feel.