Heritage is the sophomore release from Ohio alt-rockers Hollyview. A combination of rock, pop, and emo, the album boasts some solid instrumental work and catchy vocal melodies. Although it’s a strong offering, I think Hollyview could have put a little more time into polishing some of the songs on Heritage and could have trimmed some of the album’s fat.
The opening title track has a real 2000’s emo vibe to it, with guitarist and vocalist Chris Cotton’s melody soaring over a simple, but solid, instrumental. Think early Three Days Grace, but a bit more melodic. This plays on throughout songs like “Threes and Fives,” which boasts a catchy guitar riff and almost Dear Hunter-esque vocals, and “Ghost Man,” which suffers from somewhat a shaky verse but has one of the more solid choruses on the album.
The lack of vocal harmonies on the majority of the album is an issue for me. Hollyview aren’t playing anything overly complicated on Heritage, and I don’t think they need to be, but a simple thing like layering some backing vocals would add a lot. There are prominent harmonies on “Broken Window Theory” and “Listen, Listen,” and I think that’s a big part of why they’re my two favourites on the album. Both tracks follow Hollyview’s pattern of catchy instrumentals and rich melodies, but just sound a lot more full than others.
Heritage has a quite a few solid tracks on it, but the second half of the album suffers from what I felt was filler. “Both Of You” has an interesting vibe at first and is a lot more mellow and mournful than the rest of the songs on the album, but it never feels like it goes anywhere in its four-and-a-half minute runtime. Similarly, the power-pop style of “Space Coast Girl” starts off promisingly, but is pretty unmemorable in the context of the whole album.
Trim the album’s fat and Heritage is a great release. It’s got the strong melodies of pop tunes you’d hear on the radio, but doesn’t let up on the rock aspect of things. I can appreciate not wanting to include overdubs that can’t be pulled off live, but I would have loved to hear to more vocal harmonies from Hollyview throughout the album. Despite the issues I had with Heritage, I know that I’ll be listening to at least a good chunk of the album again.
Written by Justin Bruce
*edited by Kate Erickson