Holy Oker’s debut EP Diamonds is a collection of six electro-dance tracks that combine house-drenched kicks with emotional lyrics. Holy Oker is the solo act of Greg Bevis, drummer from electro-dance group Bear Mountain. Having already found success on the indie scene, Bevis is stepping out on his own to explore electronic music through a more personal approach. His style is a mix of arpeggiated synth hooks and syncopated bass with euphoric melody. Bevis’ tracks, though infused with infectious beats, are not your typical tunes for fist-pumping Fridays at the club – they are fragile and personal, precisely what makes this EP so refreshing.
Every track is a little piece of heartbreak. Synth chords act as the soft overlay of hopefulness, creating a juxtaposition of pain and optimism. The title track, “Diamonds,” is an intimate and personal track from Bevis. Attentive ears will pick out a quiet sigh near the beginning of the song as the synth hook blends with the simple guitar riff, a detail that highlights an unusual vulnerability in his music. My favourite track off the EP is “Love Like A Gun,” where the minor key and dark lyrics bring you pangs of melancholy, only for the syncopated rhythm to carry a soft, airy feel that takes you back to sweet dreams and good memories. The rest of the EP follows a similar formula, one that allows the collection of six songs to work incredibly well with each other.
Perhaps what makes this EP so pleasant is that it doesn’t follow expectations. Holy Oker is a crossover between the electronic beats of CHVRCHES and the breathy voice of Sufjan Stevens, with hints of bands like Haim and, of course, Bear Mountain. His distinctive orchestral arrangements are reminiscent of the works of Jon Brion. Here is a soft, almost fragile voice, combined with strong synth-pop chords and powerful bass beats. The tracks are punchy and edgy with a touch of whimsical, unexpected in the periodic bursts of electronic energy, deep bass, and unreal beats. Bevis’ personal spin on electro-dance has an oddly likeable dissonance that sets him apart from similar artists. His lyrics tell stories about a complicated and disillusioned addiction to love – and his music is a kind of self-medication I’d gladly take.