Holiday Ghosts tell us about the inspirations behind terrific new LP ‘Absolute Reality’

UK group Holiday Ghosts just released Absolute Reality, their fourth album, which has a wonderful ramshackle air to it, a hand-crafted mid-fi ambience that really suits jangly, strummy earworms like “Vulture,” “Again and Again,” and “Favorite Freak” all of which soar with big hooks and Samuel Stacpoole and Katja Rackin’s co-lead vocal harmonies. It’s a terrific album and you can stream it below.

We talked to the band about some of the musical influences behind the album, including Leonard Cohen, The McTells, Young Marble Giants and more. Read their list and commentary below.


J. Mcfarlane’s Reality Guest – Ta Da (album)
Kat: I love how sparse the arrangements of these songs are. It kinda makes me think of Tom Waits if he was a millenial with a synth. Not sure if that’s the vibe anyone else is getting though? We played with these guys in Brighton like 4 years ago and I’ve been listening to this album ever since, so it must have seeped into my writing at some point! Been on the edge of my seat waiting for that next album to hit…

Leonard Cohen – “Avalanche”
Kat: I had my first big Leonard Cohen phase whilst writing this album. In particular I remember for a few unemployed weeks of spring I set up camp on the balcony, made myself a little den and was laying in the sun and replaying this song every day. What stuck with me was how the lyrics are a poem in their own right; if you take away the music the words exist as their own art piece. I was moved to try and write words in this way, for them to exist as poems before any musical process began. This is how I came to write “Blue” and “Absolute Reality,” words before chords.

The McTells – Cut Up
Ben: This is some prime time jangle from The McTells! ‘Cut Up’ really scratched an itch coming out of the throes of 2021, pure sunshine bouncing straight out of the gutter. Great memories booting around in my old car blasting “Last Time”.

Morgan: I was listening to bunch of 60s R&B and a slew of newer punk outfits during the making of Absolute Reality, but the string of DLIMC cassingles from a few years ago was one I gave a lot of time to. The bass parts have a jovial bounce to them that I really got into trying to emulate. Particularly the first track. Good stuff.

Young Marble Giants – Colossal Youth
Sam: I was listening to a lot of the various records featuring Alison Statton, particularly a record by her later band Weekend called “81 Demos” and the classic Young Marble Giants album : “Colossal Youth”. I think that’s a thing that got behind my brain with the way I wanted to play guitar on a lot of this album. That kind of muted chugging in a very controlled way and then playing leads really loud coming out of that. That was an idea at one point, but then surrendering to the process of playing in the band you end up doing lots of things. So i think that influence is only really audible in “Vulture.”

No Age
Sam: I’ve been a huge fan of No Age since their first album Weirdo Rippers but I think they just get more and more interesting to me album by album i’m particularly into their more ambient stuff these days. When I was in the studio, recording the vocals for “B. Truck” I remember having it in my head to go for a kind of Dean Spunt vocal style. I wanted it to be kind of melodically sparse most of the way. I don’t actually think this song ended up sounding anything like that band, but that’s a good thing. Influences are best that way.