It’s hard to believe Holly Macve’s Golden Eagle is a debut album. Originally from Galway, Ireland, the 21-year-old singer songwriter exudes the confidence and control you’d expect from a veteran performer.
Holly’s achy inflections evoke country-western styles, a Patsy-Cline-like delivery of heartbreak and longing. Golden Eagle combines haunting imagery with vulnerable contemplation and a retrospective eye. In “No One Has The Answers”, divine and personal uncertainty are set against blue skies and a summer by the sea. The speaker’s desire to understand the world merges with a yearning to escape from it: “I worked by day and by night I drank and danced until my mind was blank/And when the morning came to me, I’d only ever do the same.” Throughout the record, Holly explores the beauty in the detritus, loneliness standing alongside dreamy images of blood-red fields, moonlit lakes, and train-ride fantasies to far-off places.
There is also a craving for returns that reveals itself in a fixation with childhood. Songs like “White Bridge”, “Timbuktu” and “Sycamore Tree” indulge the memory of lost innocence. Opener “White Bridge” explores how these returns are irretrievable, especially after heartache: “I looked at the world with different eyes/I didn’t notice all of its lies/I looked at the world with different eyes/I didn’t notice his disguise/Oh, I remember well that night we laughed and we fell/And I’ll never be the same again.”
When sadness manifests something else emerges, an enhanced sense of self with an awareness that wasn’t there before (this is very much apparent in her song “Shell”). The striking cinematic details of the songs combined with Holly’s sweet and riveting voice in a record that echoes the tones of tradition, all within a fresh and evocative sound.
Golden Eagle comes out March 3.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: HOLLY MACVE – GOLDEN EAGLE