The fabled heroism of the old west and the forgotten subsequent melancholy attached to leaving home to see about its expansion live in the memories of certain history books, John Ford films, and the music of Estonian quintet Holy Motors. Somehow, tucked away in that nook of Northern Europe, this unassuming shape of desolation is seeping back into the forefront of consciousness through hushed and dreary instrumentation, rhythms that take their time with you, and vocals smoky enough to cloud your head. Their forthcoming debut album, appropriately titled Slow Sundown, is rife with longing and estrangement, either from self or surroundings, the pangs of melodic depression so forceful they muddle the border between dream state and reality. Their first single, “Honeymooning” twangs on, a single guitar played alongside a desert fire, soon joined by the slow-moving caravan of the full band. It’s a single melodic theme that presses on more powerful with each repetition. They lull you, collectively, into a state of half-hypnosis, where the body can function in its day-to-day, but the mind is stayed with slumber. Singer Eliann Tulve laments over the dusking backdrop of beauteous monochrome, desires that glow like coal embers. A single guitar string rings out as forsaken as a wounded left for dead, as the song inches towards its climax/close. So ends a dream from which you don’t wish to wake, that stays with you through your day, as you make your coffee small talk, your mind, you heart back in Estonia.
Slow Sundown is out February 9 via Wharf Cat.