Another long time artist seemingly adored only by their small but heart warningly devoted fan base, Californian based musician and electronic artist of the indie way of life Marc Bianchi, known as Her Space Holiday, has been throwing us uniquely composed, beautifully written work since the late nineties. His 2008 album ‘XOXO, Panda and the New Kid Revival’ saw him pack up his computer and dust off an acoustic guitar amongst many other instruments, essentially turning him into a backwards Sufjan Stevens. Sadly this year marks the end of his 15 year career under the recording moniker. Is his final, self-titled, self-released album a celebration of his tenure or a botched final blowout?
In keeping with everything else he’s made, the album impresses lyrically from the first song ‘Anything For Progress’, the words “She tells me that time will heal all our wounds, she points to her heart and says here is proof” allude to the consistent tone of the song writing for the whole record; a series of innocent romance tales charm in the same way a quirky cartoon would, with the less darker and adult oriented storytelling once again left in the past, though in particular reference to times passing the later tracks do indeed tread with dreaded deeds. With uses of names perhaps in Bianchi’s memory it’s arguably one of his most personal worded efforts, but because of its significance as a curtain call it is then self-aware of its importance to a great deal of people, least of all it’s hard-life worn writer.
Fascinating about the album is the progression from a simple, plucked ukulele opening to a near orchestra like assortment of instruments (in a single song no less), its upbeat nature sounding like a more fleshed out Mouldy Peaches, with the song ‘Come On All You Soldiers’ an anthem of ascension into a true plain of happiness, one I’d would choose over the sometimes cold manner of the electro beat. The slowdown of such compositions happens in the mid-section, with number ‘The Candle Jumped over the Spoon’ a song one can only play best on the front porch on a hot night (preferably with a banjo).
‘Ghost in the Garden’ seems appropriately titled as it resurrects the synthesizer and brings the release full circle, its constant brooding bass keeping it from diving into moroseness. The personal pick of the litter is ‘The Bullet, The Battle, The Trigger, The Barrel and Me’, one of those near perfect efforts in which well written lyrics surround an impeccable melody kept simple and subdued, but letting go in the final moments. Sadly, whilst final track ‘In The Time It Takes For The Lights To Change’ is a nice tune it’s not the phenomenal finisher one would hope for, not just for an album but for the whole of HSH.
The modest yet mixed list of instruments do well to boost HSH’s shortcomings in the vocal department, but to help are the backing vocals of a very cute sounding female singer, who’s ‘ba da’ing solo in the opening track an oddly catching section.
Everything you’d want in a final outing, Her Space Holiday’s last album stands as one of the finest in his catalogue and deserving all efforts of gratitude from fans new and long time. I envy people who perhaps discover him through hearing it; you now get to travel backwards from finish to start and learn to know his fantastic music in a totally new way. Good for you.
Her Space Holiday can be bought and listened to in both digital and hard copy at:
Words > Graham Ashton