Moving from a five-piece band to the pure power trio of guitar, bass and drums forced Holding Patterns to go through a process of refining their creative approach. Their resulting debut album ‘Endless’, out May 2019 via Vested Interest (UK), To Lose La Track (ITA) and Stiff Slack (JP) sees the trio expanding their horizons while dialling further into the raw emotion at the heart of their music.
Some of the foundations of Endless were written in the aftermath of Crash of Rhinos’ break-up in early 2014. Indeed, one of the tracks on the album was initially intended to be a new Crash of Rhinos track, from an attempt at reviving the band in 2016. Life commitments, however, made it too difficult to continue.
Reconfiguring the band as the trio of guitarist Jim Cork, bassist Ian Draper and drummer Oli Craven, Holding Patterns went about starting afresh with the blessing of their previous bandmates. Having played together in various incarnations for almost 20 years, the three initially went down the path of re-creating the dense arrangements of a larger ensemble,
using loop pedals and electronics – a nod to the two-guitar setup of their previous bands.
After almost a year of writing in this manner, the band chose to rebuild everything from the ground up, guitarist Jim adding that the looping approach was “too complex and stressful to pull off with any sense of enjoyment or conviction”. The trio revisited the arrangements, going through a process of stripping the songs back songs to the bare essentials, emerging with a new urgency and intensity. The resulting pieces capture the energy and drive of their live set, while maintaining compositional depth and complexity.
Endless is a deeply personal record. Released as a double LP, the twelve songs paint vivid pictures of the Midlands, where the band met and grew up, as well as the individual relationships that colour memory and our experience of place. Lyrical and vocal duties are handled by all three members, their words and melodies intertwining over the precisely
crafted arrangements, all propelled by an intense battery of intricate drum-work.
‘Glow’ opens the album with a guitar melody weaving through a haze of shimmering ambient textures, before “At Speed” kicks off the record proper. Tightly-wound guitars and soaring vocal harmonies propel the track ever forward. ‘First Responder’, by contrast, sinks back to a more meditative, melancholy groove, it’s intricate rhythmic architecture and lyrics an ode to the beauty of colossal man-made structures. ‘Dust’ is, in-part, inspired by the ex-mining community in Drapers’ hometown, paying homage to his grandfathers who worked in the mines, evoking the communal spirit that has lingered long after the industry vanished.
‘This Shot Will Ring’ links Holding Patterns past to their future. The last track they finished writing during the attempted revival of Crash of Rhinos, the original piece was much more brooding and quiet. Revisiting the track as a Holding Patterns jam, they ramped up the tempo and kicked on the distortion to transform it into a very different beast. The band’s drummer, Oli, explains: “That was quite cathartic. It really solidified Holding Patterns being its own thing for me – leaving the past behind – and the closing lines to the song are, in part, about that.”