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 Bank Holidays, 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 song-writing.
Hailing from Perth, Western Australia, and drawing inspiration from groups like The Zombies and The Mamas & the Papas, The Bank Holidays take supreme pleasure in layering multiple vocal parts across a mesh of lush guitar jangle and bass plonk. Over the years they’ve shown their wares playing shows with international luminaries such as Peter, Bjorn & John, Caribou, Belle & Sebastian and Sarah Blasko. Having built a strong live following, and scoring regular high rotation on the national airwaves with their early EPs, the band's debut long-player As a Film was proof that complex, interesting and fun pop music is still doing a thriving trade. A tasteful piece of warm, stately pop, featuring male and female lead singers, the debut was widely lauded as an impressive classic-pop rendering along the lines of Camera Obscura, The Ladybug Transistor and The Shins.
This time 'round, 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. This is used to full effect on minor-key opener 'Tripping Up to Fall in Love' while an unsettling spaciousness permeates several songs including 'Particles' and album closer 'Gravity's Playthings'. It's not all faded melancholy though — 'His Majesty's Voice' and 'Oxford St' provide passing glimpses of the band at their swaggering best, while 'Through the Trees' evokes images of a seventies Beach Boys photo shoot, complete with golden lens flare. Straddling the line meanwhile, 'Thereabouts', a lilting tango, is exhilarating in its yearning. It's this masterful interplay of light and shade that makes for such captivating listening.
So, what happened in the past few years that inspired this Bank Holidays mood-swing? 2008 saw the band tour across Germany, UK and Scandinavia, making an extended stay in a Norwegian coastal house where they composed a number of new songs with the underlying theme of "home". Back in Perth, the band found themselves sketching out those songs at the ABC Studios with gentleman engineer Martin Roth, a man just as likely to be broadcasting sports or recording an orchestra, as working with indiepop bands. With songwriting and vocals spread across the band, and drummer Stuart Leach employing pretty much every percussive device but drumsticks, the album was completed at Cazfair House with Steve Bond (The Panics, Snowman).
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.
"[The Bank Holidays] share the kind of penchant for great Pop songs succinctly executed that the likes of The Shins or compatriots The Go-Betweens so perfectly encapsulate... if the universe was less perverse this should be spinning in CD players the world over" — Tangents (UK)
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