Deleter feels as if Holy Fuck hit a reset button, one that doesn’t erase their musical past but remixes it.
There’s something of a senior statesman vibe coursing through Holy Fuck’s fifth full-length, Deleter. The touchstones of their earlier music remain: raw, unpredictable, improvised grooves created in a live jam session rather than through a computer interface. Deleter, though, has a swagger about it that suggests while the members of Holy Fuck have matured (as musicians) since their debut album fifteen years ago, they’re still operating in a lane all their own.
Deleter is the most musical record in Holy Fuck’s catalogue in that, for the most part, its nine tracks more closely follow traditional song structures rather than improvisations. Vocal contributions from Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor (“Luxe”), Liars’ Angus Andrew (“Deleters”), and Pond frontman Nicholas Allbrook (“Free Gloss”) are a welcome change of texture and give Deleter unexpected layers of interest and intrigue. Even when songs tread close to familiar territory like on “No Error” and “San Sebastian”, Holy Fuck find new dynamics to play around with. There’s a sense of finesse in the way that original members Brian Borcherdt and Graham Walsh and the two Matts (McQuaid and Schulz) create controlled musical chaos. “Moment”, for example, is rife with endless possibilities, careening from New Order-esque synthpop to ultra-sophisticated soul and funk and make it all feel as right as rain.
As focused as Deleter is, it’s the Holy Fuck album that comes closest to being the “music in the margins” they referred to when announcing the record. Cheekily kicking proceedings off with Alexis Taylor proclaiming, “I’d like to scrap all of this / And start over again”, Deleter does feel as if Holy Fuck has hit a reset button, one that doesn’t erase their musical past but remixes it.