Album Review: HOLY – All These Worlds Are Yours

There’s no denying that Sweden is fast becoming Europe’s new music capital – and HOLY (aka Hannes Ferm) is certainly one of the country’s most intriguing artists. Rising to stratospheric prominence since the release of 2014’s ‘Silver Of Your Heart’ EP, Ferm’s ever-changing career has earned the artist the reputation of being one of PNKSLM’s most popular.

Out today, All These Worlds Are Yours is HOLY’s follow up to predecessor Stabs – a 2016 debut that took garage-rock kicking and screaming all the way through the streets of Ferm’s native Umeå. But All These Worlds Are Yours takes on a somewhat different vibe. Constructed during Ferm’s move to the sprawling metropolis of Stockholm and self-stylised as an extra-terrestrial opera, the album comes in at just under one experimental hour, inspired by the exploration of the night sky and all the possibilities it could – and probably does – contain.

From the dreamy opening piano chords of ‘Night on Earth’, it’s clear that HOLY’s not holding back. It’s effortlessly otherworldly, a daydream thrown into reality. Breaking into Stockholm’s Studio Cobra throughout the nights of 2017 to meticulously break apart and rebuild his music, Ferm’s a perfectionist, a clear musician with a vision – and here, this doesn’t go amiss.

‘Dreaming still?’ is an ode to Pond with its whirring synth and crashing space-age guitar effects, and Ziggy Stardust comparisons are easy to make with the ballad-like ‘ððð’. But it’s important to note that despite these influences, what HOLY has created breaks into entirely new territory. All These Worlds Are Yours draws on its forebears to bring modernity into the picture, examining the extra terrestrial via musicianship that’s truly innovative. The ambience of ‘ৌ alien life??’ is just one example, seven minutes that document the tale of saying goodbye to the rural and embracing urbanism in what’s simply a mind blowing way.

The ultimate quality that stands out about All These Worlds Are Yours is that it really has so much substance. There’s songs for every feeling, every emotion, a result of Ferm crafting his tracks at the cusp of moving to Stockholm and embracing all that it has to offer. If you want psych-pop, you have it, in the form of the lulling ‘Heard Her’; there’s moments of instrumental introspect with ‘and she breaks the day! A clarity’, a track that features little more than backing vocals to make things truly haunting. The whole body of music moves from fast to slow, from crashes to whsipers. There’s little here to bore you – and everything to make you fall in love.

Title track ‘all these worlds are yours’ is utterly faultless. It’s difficult to remember a recent track that’s sounded this full, this mature. With the drum and bass sublimely kicking in after two minutes, it feels like a classic already, despite its 2018 date. By the time the Bowie-esque closer ‘In Lack of Light’ rolls around, it’s firmly evident that Ferm’s garage days are over – and so, sadly, is the album.

Ten tracks of brilliance, All These Worlds Are Yours is an album that differentiates itself from its counterparts, purely for its experimentation. In a music age where most artists rely on singles, HOLY has took the ‘concept album’ notion and reworked it into the modern age. “The last thing I wanted to do was create an album that felt ‘retro’”, explains Ferm on his decision to delve into the roots of 70’s glam-rock – and rest-assured, the ground-breaking modernity of All These Worlds Are Yours is anything but.