The new album finds the group honing their already razor sharp pop hooks while embracing moodier, darker elements.
Take a song like “Heyday,” which boasts a fist-pumping chorus and throwback ‘80s synth pulses that seems ripe for Top 40 radio, but is cut through with lyrics that by turns abstract and direct. Or “Loaded Gun,” a song that builds slowly on a bed of programmed rhythms and throbbing bass lines that would make Nine Inch Nails proud, then kept aloft by airy vocals and glistening atmospherics. Throughout Night Terrors, singer Scott Fagerland, dares to explore the titular affliction that has him waking up some nights unable to move and, on the closing track “Young” wonders with piercing honesty about pursuing one’s artistic dreams in the face of getting older and settling down. The precision and depth that Holiday Friends are able to achieve was helped by the fact that in the two years since their last album Major Magic, the gents have built their own studio in Astoria that they used to record all of Night Terrors. It was a long process but one that allowed them to experiment and really lock down every last note on the album. The hard work is evident on the LP, even in how effortless it all sounds.