Holding Hands

Holding Hands’ Ian Davies has scrappy determination to be happy as he emerges from a self-imposed “EXILE”.

On “EXILE”, Holding Hands’ Ian Davies emerges from self-imposed exile — the quotes around the album’s title add a nice sarcastic touch to the severity of his banishment — after a breakup. Across the seven twanged-out pop-rock tracks, Davies maintains a sad-sack drawl. His voice is the equivalent of feet dragging on pavement or drooping eyelids when you’re too tired to get off the couch: “You never really knew me and you never really tried. How many times I must have cried.” he sings on opener “How Many Times”.

But Davies has scrappy determination to be happy on “EXILE”. Fastened on a plethora of buoyant guitar hooks, “EXILE” sounds cheerful in spite of Davies’ delivery. On “Do You Still Call Me Baby?” Davies shreds his way through his sadness as his guitar wails for him while “Feel Better” grooves with an optimistic spring in its step. Lyrically, Davies also rustles up optimism: “I’ve been so strung out for so long but I’ll feel better once I write it in a song,” he sings on the latter track. And then, on closer “On the Line,” Davies sends a message to himself, and listeners, that feels like the heart of “EXILE”: “You’ve been down but you’ll get up again.”

PS. 100% of the album’s Bandcamp sales go directly to Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal so please consider purchasing it there.

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