The Holloways: So This Is Great Britain?

So Britain’s a bit shit then – but this album’s definitely not

So what is Great Britain? Is it the wasted urban romance of ‘Albion’, the grit and spit of ‘When The Sun Goes Down’, the bleary-eyed ‘Work, Work, Work (Pub, Club, Sleep)’? Or is it something more corrupt and decrepit still, yet worth celebrating? Something masterfully crystallised by gypsy punkers The Holloways on this: the most informed, ecstatic and goddarn best guitar-pop record of 2006. We. Shit. You. Not.

Their debut opens on the political warpath. “So this is Great Britain, welcome aboard/A sinking ship that’s full of shit and someone’s nicked the oars”, rants Alfie Jackson. Then, having catalogued Blighty’s myriad defects (binge-drinking, the Beckhams, US cow-towing, rampant STIs), in kicks ‘Generator’ with its message of ‘life’s shit! Let’s limbo!’ and inside the first six minutes The Holloways have packed enough bolshy vitriol and rampant pop spirit to make our damaged nation dance.

What follows is a tickertape parade of melodic jubilance in the face of governmental idiocy (‘Re-invent Myself?’), scenester back-biting (‘Fit For A Fortnight’), and being skint and shagless in N7 (‘Happiness And Penniless’). And all of it – bar Heartbreak Anthem Of The Decade ‘Most Lonely Face’ – played out in the bouncy castle at the hula party of modern rock. The result will make you line-dance with strangers on night buses. Guaranteed.So this is Great Britain, in all its sleazy glory. Let’s raise a jar.

Mark Beaumont

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