Review: ‘Won’t Be Leaving Here Today’ by the holdout
Portland power trio The Holdout have released their second album, Won’t Be Leaving Here Today – a record that taps into the many emotions we have all felt since the onset of 2020: hope, loss, disillusion and love.
Hailing from Portland, Oregon, the band has punk rock roots and a prolific musical history. In 2016, the relocation of Temper and Hold’s guitarist Jacob DePolitte spurred the two remaining bandmates, Andi Camp (Ribbon Fix) and Paul Johnson (Audio Learning Center), to join forces with guitarist Aaron Blanchard (Prize Country and Junior Worship) to form their new rock outfit, The Holdout.
After the successful release of their debut LP The Things That Brought Us Here in 2018, writing for Won’t Be Leaving Here Today began in 2020 – before the wildfires and snowstorms wreaked havoc on their hometown. With the lingering consequences of these natural waves of chaos, the recording of the album was ultimately delayed until the band were able to lock themselves in a studio and record the album over 4 days, with the help of sound engineer Robert Bartleson (Haywire Recording). Won’t Be Leaving Here Today released on Grafton Records in November 2021.
Now that I have set the scene for Won’t Be Leaving Here Today, let’s delve into some of the tracks.
The album begins with ‘Loud As A Siren’, an electric and raucous opening ballad. Its cyclical guitar riffs give the track that much-needed pace, and the vocals are harmonious and full of heart. You can hear the band’s strong punk roots in the drums of the track too. That infectious pace then picks up again in ‘All In’, with that ‘Me vs the World’ mentality from a lot of our favourite pop punk records. Andi Camp’s vocals are beautiful here, with the softness in her voice warmly complimenting the gritty guitars.
Then, ‘High High Fiving’, a commentary on love, is where the energy of the album peaks. The softness in Andi’s previous vocals has now disappeared and here her vocals soar with a piercing ferocity. ‘Too Much Too Many’ shows the punk acumen of the guitarist, Aaron Blanchard, with guitar riffs that take us back to that visceral punk sound of the nineties and noughties. This is especially the case in the last 90 seconds of the track.
The album also holds some great ballads. The pace is brought down, allowing for the melodic guitars and vocals to sour. ‘Pray for Rain’ and ‘The Bottom is Endless’ speak of feeling exasperated, watching while everything falls apart and still hoping for better.
The album’s closer, ‘They Are Us’ talks of feeling like you don’t belong and taking ownership of that. With the whole band joining in for the vocals here, they sing from a place of immense strength and confidence. That confidence and ferocity stays with you after you finish listening to the album, so it’s certainly apt for the closer of such a vibrant and emotional record.
In sum, Won’t Be Leaving Here Today is a spirited punk record that is both an apt representation of our recent emotional makeup and as a warm tribute to the noughties punk era many of us grew up with. We have pretty much felt every emotion possible in the past two years, and at times of great uncertainty it’s great to have music you can emotionally connect to. The mixing and mastering of the record is crisp and its fluid instrumentation clearly illustrates the seasoned skills of these three wonderful rock musicians. Now with a proven track record of creating great rock records, you should definitely keep The Holdout on your watchlist. It will be great to see what they release next.
To check out the music library of The Holdout and the accompanying vinyl releases on Bandcamp, click here.
Thanks for reading!
To read about some more indie tunes, click here.
Fancy following From Sophia with Love on Instagram and Twitter? The links are below:
Finally, From Sophia With Love receives tons of emails and it’s impossible for me to read them all. To share music with myself and lots of other curators in one easy submission, please submit your music to Musosoup via this link. This will guarantee maximum exposure for your submissions and will help to keep this blog running. Thanks!