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On their reflective second album, The Bank Holidays opt for autumnal hues in place of their usual summery sparkle. Sail Becomes a Kite is a surprising left-turn for the captivating Western Australian four-piece, whose previous output has been exemplified by a giddy joyousness. Still present however, among the moodier, more filmic atmosphere is the band's indisputable grasp of melody and compelling songwriting. This time 'round though, the sun has set, the embers have been gently stoked and the reverb has been spread thick. Nylon strings are gently plucked and surf guitars drift by menacingly in the distance. Sail Becomes a Kite is the sound of The Bank Holidays at their tender best; their brilliant command of vocal arrangement has, more than ever, allowed them to cast a shadow across their most panoramic glow of sunshine pop.
1) Tripping Up to Fall in Love 2) Save Silence 3) Thereabouts 4) The Motif 5) His Majesty's Voice 6) Particles 7) Sail Becomes a Kite 8) Oxford Street 9) Without It 10) Through the Trees 11) In the Desert 12) Gravity's Playthings
The Bank Holidays are such a warm and resilient pop band that even their melancholy-tinged second album boasts a heartening glow. Billed as the autumnal answer to 2007’s summery As A Film, Sail Becomes A Kite continues the Perth quartet’s fixation on imagery-rich songwriting, as well as the production poise and impeccable vocal layering exemplified by The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and Odessey & Oracle by The Zombies. It’s all a bit familiar then, but well constructed and finished with generous helpings of charm.
Lead vocals are shared between Norwegian-born guitarist Bekk Crombie, her bassist husband James, and guitarist Nat Carson. James Crombie’s quietly desperate, reverb-coated singing instantly brings to mind The Shins; Carson’s voice is fuller and prone to ballads; while Bekk Crombie’s bears traces of an endearing Norwegian accent. Harmonies are a prime feature of this band, pairing especially well with the rippling folk soul of ‘Tripping Up To Fall In Love’ and ‘Through The Trees’. On the other hand, ‘Thereabouts’ reaches for a climax that’d be well suited to a romantic stage musical. Choir-like voices guide the measured jangle and bounce of ‘His Majesty’s Voice’ only for Carson’s ‘The Motif’ to break from the pack with chilling piano and George Harrison-esque lead guitar.
When the album wraps with the low-key triumph ‘Gravity’s Playthings’, there’s an immediate craving for another dozen tracks. And isn’t that the whole point of pop?" Doug Wallen, Mess & Noise
The Bank Holidays are best known for their triple hit of saccharine during many songs to date, yet when giving the tunes ample space to breath, like with the slow burn of Gravity’s Plaything, they create songs that have a timeless quality. Even when The Bank Holidays hit brightest pop moments of Oxford Street and His Majesty’s Voice, they do so with grace.Tripping Up To Fall In Love has eerie moments of Morricone spooned in with the tight harmonies and supple melody and Bekk Crombie’s affect resembles a cross between Bjork and Nancy Sinatra during Save Silence. This, and some more restrained instrumentation at times, illustrates The Bank Holidays wider palate.
Perth combo get spooky on second album
Debut album from The Bank Holidays As A Film was a thoroughly loveable indie-pop record, lushly produced by J Walker and making tidy work of standard indie pop influences (Brian Wilson, The Shins etc). They are a sparser, slower, more haunting band on this wintry second album. The sweeping melancholy of The Motif comes with stately piano and when they do revisit the harmonics of Brian Wilson they do it with greater panache, as on the vibes-infused His Majesty’s Voice with its hints of both Wouldn’t It Be Nice and Til I Die. The boy-girl harmonies are as potent as ever, but it’s particularly Bekk Crombie who comes into her own as a vocalist, boasting a ‘60s-esque melodic purity (no fashionable affectations to be found here, the tune always comes first). The a cappella title track could be one of the more reflective moments on The Zombies’ Odessey And Oracle (sic), segueing effortlessly into the most James Mercer-esque moment on the album, the stunning pop of Oxford Street. All in all, Sail Becomes A Kite is not only a considerable evolution from their 2007 debut, it’s possibly one of the more significant Australian releases of the year.
" Matt Thrower, Rave Magazine