Hold//Fire’s debut album The Space in Between is a steady first release from the band, filled with emotional lyricism with touches of the heavy rock and punk elements easily heard throughout.
The albums opening track ‘Lost’ eases in with lead singer Andy Forssman’s vocal cutting the silence before a slow electric strum joins. The lyrics call out, though slightly drowned by the sound of the guitar. Distant harmonies can be heard in the chorus, and by the three-minute mark, the band’s heavier sound comes to life, the electric guitar cutting across, the drummer’s cymbals crashing to life. On ‘Safety in Numbers’, Forssman’s vocal stand out, his shouting, strained voice adding emotion to the song. The electric instruments and drums come crashing together as the chorus repeats over and over to close the track.
‘Restless’ rocks from the get-go, the drums driving behind the distorted guitar. The album’s title track, ‘The Space in Between’, opens with a slowly picked guitar, the vocals effectively cutting across over this. A slower solo features after the second chorus, though difficult to be heard over booming drums and rhythm guitar. The track’s final minute is an instrumental, as the drums and rhythm stop to allow the electric lead to fade to close.
The vocals in the first verse of ‘Departure’ stand out, again for their audible emotion. This is a perfect mix of the levels of their instruments, each one able to be heard in their own way. ‘Ancient Games’ has a much heavier sound to it, while ‘Desperate for Distraction’ opens with a strong lead guitar, before falling softer for each verse, the choruses returning to louder sound. While ‘Departure’ ends with echoing, clean vocals, all three tracks drag far past the four-minute mark.
The album’s closing track, ‘Bones’, is a different sound to the other tracks, with an alt-country feel. Acoustic in the beginning, the track features the best guitar solo of the album, before a softer acoustic break. Emotional vocals try out alone before the electric sound of the song falls together again to close.
The Space in Between is a steady start for Hold//Fire. The harmonies on tracks like ‘Lost’ and ‘Safety in Numbers’ are brilliant, but they become lost behind the electric instruments, as do the lead vocals on occasion. The lyricism is a highlight, and Forssman must be praised for his ability to convey such emotion in his vocals. Having now found their feet, Hold//Fire will move forward with each coming project.
Reviewed by Thom Devereux