With the bouncy pop sound and the brightly colored visuals on Holychild’s first EP, Mindspeak, it might be easy to initially assume that this L.A. duo doesn’t have anything important to say. But Mindspeak has a lot more going on than what first meets the eye. People sometimes write off pop music for not being serious enough, but for Holychild, their dedication to earworming is what makes them work so well. They’re not afraid to embrace the power of pop to tell you how it is, while simultaneously making you dance and/or sing into a shampoo bottle alone in the shower. Within this day-glo confection, Holychild are conveying a feminist message in an accessible way. The album sounds like an all-girls pool party, only everyone’s chatting about social issues in between eating snacks and making fruity drinks.
The EP kicks off with Every Time I Fall, and it’s a big, fun, layered success. But those opening lyrics, “I’ll never give it all to you/the damsel’s not my story too,” immediately alert the listener that this song and the album in general is more than a bubblegum love story. The distorted sound of the vocals takes away some of the power, but not enough to detract from the song overall. The next song, Happy With Me, has a cool sound, with sonic beeps and hooks, another track that’s easy to listen and bop around to. The message of the track is one that should really resonate with listeners: “Every day do you notice that we are never free?/Oh, why can’t you be happy with me?” Most people know what it feels like to have that question running around in their heads. Playboy Girl invokes more great images of objectification. Singer Liz Nistico refers to herself as plastic, and claims that she is just a Playboy girl to her man. The track itself has a fitting, indie rock, girl power sound.
Pretend Believe, the last song on the EP, is a perfect wrap up for the record both in its message and music. It combines the upbeat sonic play of Every Time I Fall and Happy With Me, but has all the fevered power of Playboy Girl.
With the release of this EP, Holychild also came out with a music video trilogy for three of the four songs on the EP. In these videos, the idea of objectification is cannily explored. (Too bad Playboy Girl was not included in this mini-movie, as it’s subject matter would’ve fit right in.) Nistico (who also directed the video) said that the three clips portray the contradictions she sees around the idea of objectification. This is a very relevant idea in today’s culture, and the approaches of the video and the EP in general are, though relatively simplistic in their message, definitely well thought out.
Mindspeak is an impressive first EP for Holychild. Here’s a fresh band who knows how to harness the power of pop not only to their advantage, but the advantage of those who don’t shy away from some intellect in that pop.