I’ve always enjoyed The Knocks because their music is equal parts feel-good and contemplative – you don’t have to think too hard about it, and there’s always an added level of introspection underneath a throbbing base or a powerful synth.
Que Holiday87, a side project by ½ of The Knocks, aka B-Roc, aka Benjamin Ruttner, that takes all that introspection and puts it boldly on display in shimmers of light piano melodies, doo-wop samples, and infectious drumbeats. Holiday87’s self-titled album calls upon his own childhood roots as inspiration for the project, using longing and nostalgia as overarching themes through each track. It’s equivalent to wrapping yourself in an old blanket, or having a warm cup of coffee in an old over chair – but really, it’s anything you want it to be. These are songs about memories, and as long as you find yourself reminiscing, Holiday87 is meant to be the companion soundtrack that’s comfortable, open-ended, and warm.
Though yearning, the album isn’t grim, balancing a variety of sounds that move from timid to clamorous in a way that’s as dynamic as one’s emotions. On the one hand, I found myself lost in my own feelings of deep contemplation, from the choirs of children on “Together” to the wistful swirls of “Starlight” and “Be Mine.” On the other, tracks like “Chimera” and “Lost” pulled me back out of my head and into the sunshine, evoking pure imagination and a gentle head bop. Made for easy-listening, it didn’t take much to sit back, relax, and get lost in the daydream that each track created.
I’d like to think that in those moments of quiet and calm, this is one of those peaceful albums you’d certainly want in hand.