Album Review: Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs - Sunday Run Me Over
By: Stormy Lewis
Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs can be a difficult band to pin down. They are definitely on the punkier side of country, definitely influenced by Emmylou Harris, Wanda Jackson, and Patsy Cline. They just as definitively run those influences through the same reverbed out post modernism as Neko Case and British underground singers like Gemma Ray and Bat for Lashes. But beyond that, they are on their own. Likewise, they aren’t exactly what one would call an acquired taste. While it may take a few fans multiple listens to appreciate the music, they are, by and large, a visceral band. A listener either likes them or they don’t. The reaction is almost always immediate and almost never treads a middle ground. For their detractors their brand of grunged out punkabilly sounds like just so much noise. However, fans of the band enjoy the mix of the frizzed out melodies combined with the tinny vocals and the biting lyrics. For those fans, Sunday Run Me Over will be a breath of fresh air, and a blissful way to laugh through a bitter political campaign.
The album opens with all of Holly Golighty and The Brokeoff’s most derided elements on full display. They combine the blasphemous snarl of “Goddamn Holy Roll” with grunged out instrumentals and a vocal harmony that has been autotuned almost out of recognition. “They Say” is darker and slower, more sonorous and thundering. A twist of the knob turns their vocal harmonies into the unholy wail of a pair of steam punk banshees. “Tank” finds them twisting up a traditional two step with a percussion line that sound like a spastic skeleton dancing. It is a very cool effect that makes the listener smile and dance along, despite the darker tone of the song. The first of two covers is “I Forgot More,” a country standard perhaps best known for being the one song Skeeter Davis got to release as a duo with her sister. Holly Golightly handles it with aplomb, bringing the kind of 1950’s soulful vocals that ensure everyone knows her previous autotune was just for affect. “One for the Road” goes by in a boozy swirl that falls somewhere between a polka and a waltz. It is a biting and lurching view of a sea bound cruise, complete with shouted complaints from various passengers. “Its time for duty free and maybe sleep,” the band exclaims happily. “Turn Around” sounds nearly like a carnival parody of a country ballad. The song is deliciously nasty as Holly Golightly spits a harsh good-bye to a spurned lover. “You can read it in the morning paper, hear it on the radio, Christ is taking the nation and we don’t all want to go,” the band sings plaintively on “A Whole Lot More.” “We need a whole lot less of Jesus and a lot more Rock and Roll.” “Hand n Hand” is probably the darkest one can get in a true love ballad. “Hand in hand we know we got something good to hold, we got nowhere left to go but in the ground,” they sing defiantly. “The Future’s Here” is a bright and bouncy that simultaneously celebrates and mocks contemporary society. The perfectly fused harmonies play homage to 1960’s that created the future the song envisions. The second cover song on the album is a deliciously sardonic cover of the Mac Davis classic “Hard to Be Humble.” “Goodnight” is a lengthy and hilarious sigh at the end of a disappointing evening. “All you said when over my head and I can’t bear your drunken recall” Holly Golightly snaps at a would be suitor, “You ain’t got a hope and I don’t get the joke so there’s no need to tell it again.” The album closes with “This Shit Is Gold,” a sarcastic look at their music and fame.
Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs will never be a top forty band. They are too far on the fringe, and make music that, while it has a beat and you can dance to it, requires dancing to the beat of one’s own drummer. They have a decided lack of polish, combined with a sort of deliberate artificial construction that can make them hard to listen to. However, for those who do love there music, nothing else will do. Anything else is like getting a pat of margarine when you wanted butter. Sunday Run Me Over will not likely win the band many new fans. However, for fans of the band, this album is the prefect collection of music released at the perfect time.