A few years ago, a band released a couple of EPs under the name of Harbours and then disappeared off of the face of the Earth without any kind of warning. Some months later, I caught wind of an emerging band called HRBRS and I thought it surely couldn't be the same band. Lo and behold, they are one and the same, and HRBRS has finally released a full length album that I have been waiting years for. This album, titled Always Holding On, is an emotion packed, melody-laden work of art that does not disappoint.
The first track, "Hollowed Out," is just a small fraction of what HRBRS is about to unleash in the upcoming tracks. The lengthy guitar/drum intro followed by the opening lyrics ("Will I ever escape this prison that I built for myself?") is an excellent way to start off and it sets the somber tone that continues on for the rest of the album. The second track, "1993," begins a bit faster than the track before it. One thing that bugged me about this song (and future songs) was the cymbal on the drums. There was an odd ring to the cymbal and it was distracting from the other instruments. I point it out specifically in this track because it was used extensively in this song.
The next two tracks, "Heart/Home" and "The Give and Take" respectively, are even more uptempo than the other two tracks. The vocals that are on these songs are filled with oceans of emotion, but there is not much variety to the vocals on any of the songs. Despite the intensity that they bring, they do tend to get bland after a while. The guitars and drumming are fairly well done throughout the course of Always Holding On. There are a lot of beautiful melodic parts contained in the short thirty minutes that this album goes on for and are sure to keep you mesmerized for the entire duration.
The eighth track, "Endless," is the type of melancholic instrumental song that will dampen your spirits no matter what mood you are in. The slow guitar picking is haunting and captivating. This instrumental builds up into the second to last track, "Unmoved," which is, without a doubt, the best track on Always Holding On. When the vocalist screams the lines "No home, no shelter / At war with myself," I always get chills. Unfortunately, this fast paced track is short lived and comes to an end just short of two minutes.
With Always Holding On as their debut full length release, HRBRS will certainly make a name for themselves. The lyrics are relatable, the vocals are emotional, the drums are deafening and the guitars are melodic. This album takes all of the right components and pieces them together to create a decent album. While there is nothing new or inventive to be found here, it is by no means generic. HRBRS just took an old formula and used it to showcase just how great their potential really is.