After a two year Covid hiatus, and some lineup changes, BACKSPACE return with a new sound, style, and renewed energy that seems to have solidified them as a solid band going forward.
Kicking Hold straight off with a bouncy feel, complete with impactful drums, a bass that sounds like someone playing on a trampoline. It’s a strong opening section that gives way to a cascade of equally energetic guitars.
The guitars make up the majority of the sound on Hold, with a lead, bass, and rhythm all taking up arms in unison with some shining moments for each and every one of them. The bass is the first noticeable one, as mentioned previously with the bouncy rhythm reminiscent of a slap-bass style. It’s very noticeable throughout the track which is always refreshing to see, rather than being relegated to background noise that does nothing but enhances the drums. Here, it’s easily one of the most noticeable and best aspects of the track.
Moving onto the rhythm, it’s surprising how little this style is used, it helps to really add some flair to the lead, and with the higher tenor when compared to the bass’s obvious deepness, it stands out. On this track it packs a hell of a lot of power, generally matching the lead but also providing a solid sound when the lead is doing those more stylish flourishes. Along with this it skyrockets the exciting feel of the closing lead guitar solo and keeps up the energy when the vocals leave off.
Lastly, the lead guitar here is the real star of the show. The closing moments of the song contain a guitar solo that’s nothing short of witchcraft. The speed and energy upheld for a decent amount of time are one part speed metal, one part the iconic dulling banjos from Deliverance (1972). That right there in itself is an absolute win, showing how much talent the guitarist has for hitting their notes to perfection, but also the diversity that BACKSPACE has as a band.
The drums can be easily summed up with by the idea of the pounding kick drum present in the opening that just keeps up the energy and adds a hefty amount of percussion to a track that would otherwise feel a little restless and up in the air. It grounds it perfectly, without compromising the pace or overall feel of the track.
Finally, there are the vocals, ones that never bring in any backing and give a very different perspective on the track. Being female lead, BACKSPACE seems to buck a trend where many bands have their rhythm pull double duty as vocalist or backing vocalist. Instead, here we have a solo vocalist with a surprisingly gentle delivery. This delivery though gives Hold an almost dreamlike feel due to the gentle and almost subdued style of singing. It still isn’t drowned out due to a great sound mixing and balance, and this is very welcome.
Overall, Hold is a fantastic and energy filled track that hits all the sweet spots with every individual instrument taking it’s own niche and never being overshadowed by the others. It’s well balanced and brings a solid sound that could easily propel BACKSPACE to new heights going forward.