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Five of Cups opens with the title track, establishing the album's auditory and thematic modus operandi from the get-go. Holy Wave's lysergic textural palette is immediately apparent in the song's woozy synth lead and anti-gravity guitar jangle, but the atypical chord progressions and vocal melody steers the music away from anodyne escapism into a pensive grappling between self-determination and defeatism. Holy Wave continue to ride the wistful and phantasmic train on "Bog Song," where the members vacillate between swells of austere minor chords and layered electric orchestration. From there, the previously released digital single "Chaparral" plays with the band's own sense of nostalgia, weaving references of their El Paso past into a tapestry of transcendental triumph. Like so much classic album-oriented rock music, the real magic begins to unfold in the latter half of Five of Cups. On "The Darkest Timeline," Holy Wave recruits their friends Lorena Quintanilla and Alberto Gonzalez from the Baja California, Mexico psych duo Lorelle Meets the Obsolete to add additional ethereal layers to their intoxicating after-midnight grooves. "Nothing in the Dark" functions on a similar principle, using a steady propulsive drum pattern as the bedrock to tape-warbled synths, arpeggiated guitar chords, jet streams of fuzz, and serene vocals. Five of Cups' ruminations on combating defeat and disappointment are directly confronted on album closer "Happier." Once again straddling the melodic line between melancholy and breezy sophistication, Holy Wave examines the synthetic construct of happiness in our modern age and how so often the attainment of comfort lacks any true sense of joy. Yet this isn't some nihilistic dirge. Rather, it translates as a buoyant reminder that the bandwidth of human experience inherently requires peaks and valleys, and that euphoria is often found in the search outside of the familiar.
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*SEALED* Jacket still sealed in shrink original wrap; disc sold ungraded or "as is."
NM (Near Mint) Appears unplayed and will bear no marks, sleeve scuffs, or scratches.
EX+ (Excellent) May have one or two visible imperfections (i.e. sleeve scuffs, faint scratches, or other superficial marks) that will not affect playback.
VG+ (Very Good+) A few visible imperfections. These may include sleeve scuffs, light scratches, or other superficial marks.
VG (Very Good) Similar imperfections found on VG+ records but in slightly greater numbers. Records graded VG and above will typically not have any scratches that are deep enough to be felt with a fingernail.
VG- (Very Good-) A number of visible imperfections; the presence of a considerable number of light scratches will force a VG- grade, as will the presence of significant isolated defects such as scratches deep enough to be felt with a fingernail.
G (Good) Record can be played without skipping, but will have significant surface noise, scratches, and visible groove wear. G+ and G- are used to indicate stronger and weaker copies within this range.
*SW/DNAP* Slight warp, does not affect playback
*QUAD* Quadraphonic Sound, similar to today’s surround sound
All records are visually graded by our experienced staff, using a bright lamp and an Audio-Technica ATLP-120 turntable.