Chapter Music is very pleased to release Sydney trio Holy Balm’s second album Activity on vinyl and digital on August 5, 2016.
Already much-loved for their mutant, free form house, Holy Balm give their most direct nod to the dancefloor yet on Activity. The pop hooks of Fashion, the upbeat laments of All Night Long and the wayward rattles of closing track Dancing Gravy II harbour echoes of 2012 debut It’s You (released by Californian label Not Not Fun and Sydney stalwarts RIP Society), but Activity is purpose-built for movement, bouncing subversive gestures off a brighter, bolder dance veneer.
The band - Anna John, Emma Ramsay and Jonathan Hochman - list the themes of the album as “managing, sustaining, being energised by and connecting to your community through activity.” These kind of urges can be draining for any artist/performer, but they are also essential to lasting, life-enriching creativity. Holy Balm triumph via transcendence, movement and fun, with the album’s very title suggesting how best to listen to it - dancing in the bedroom, creating in the studio, sweating in the club, or just moving.
Activity was engineered by Jonathan and produced by the band entirely in-house, with featured guest Marcus Whale (Collarbones/BV) playing saxophone on Fash- ion. Cover art, by Sydney artist, friend and longtime listener Robert Pulie suggests the phonetic/symbolic play of handpainted commercial signage and visual com- munications - mouth, body and environment.
"We think Activity blends our biographical voice with dance music tropes such as closeness, atmospheric changes, and personal empowerment, solidifying our sound. It's a dynamic space of play and experimentation that only just reared its head with the first album, but comes into its own on Activity" - Holy Balm.
Holy Balm toured the US in 2013, have played the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Biennale, and have shared stages with the likes of Ariel Pink, Boredoms, Nite Jewel, and Maria Minerva.
It's fascinating to see how Shaw's vocal delivery has changed from this record to their proper debut. She plays a multitude of characters, with dialogue and all, and the poetry is much more vulgar here. Steven Moses