Album Review: Hollow & Akimbo – Hollow & Akimbo

Ann Arbor based duo Hollow & Akimbo‘s self-titled album is mindfully crafted in a way that requires multiples listens to hear every intricate texture layered perfectly over the album’s 10 tracks. Childhood friends Jonathan Visger and Brian Konicek have worked together before as part of the band Mason Proper as well as both releasing solo projects. Even with all the experience, it’s hard to believe the insane amount of electronic samples and instrumental layers were created completely by Visger and Konicek themselves.

Fans got a glimpse of the album when the Singularity EP dropped a few weeks ago. The title track starts with what sounds like a gritty, distorted organ before the guitars and drums kick in. Viger’s flawless vocals soar over grandiose electronic samples and pianos throughout making for a impeccable first single. I was very happy that the I only had to wait a few weeks after hearing this to get the entire album into my hands.

Likewise, “Still Life” builds electro-pop textures, piano and staccato clapping to produce a radio ready track. I was able to picture warm beaches and perfectly blue water while I drove past piles of snow as tall as my car the first time I heard it. The track really hits its stride at the 2:20 mark, kicking off into a raucous, electric guitar driven conclusion as Visger sings “If the sun would just keep on blazing / Light bouncing off my face / If the Earth would just stop rotating / And hovering around in space / If the oranges would never rot and / If the leaves would never fall / If everything stayed the same forever / I wouldn’t care at all”. If that doesn’t scream summer anthem, I don’t know what does.

It’s hard for me to pick a favorite track but “Lucky Stars” comes pretty close to the top of the heap. The song starts off sounding a bit Radiohead with Visger’s dissonant vocals over wispy electronic samples, haunting keys, tingy guitars and drums.  The atmosphere builds as layers keep getting added and added, yet the track never sounds too cluttered or busy. Visger and Konicek walk this line throughout the entire album, building each track to be as complex as possible without sounding overly so.

The album really rewards listeners that have a decent sound system or pair of headphones. I’m still hearing new things and I’ve listened to the album well into the double digits. The diversity of Hollow & Akimbo makes it easy to listen to on repeat and will attract fans of many different genres. Keep your eye on these guys, with quality music like this they are bound to blow up any day now.

You can pick up the album on Amazon, iTunes, and Bandcamp.
If you dig the sounds as much as I did, check out Jonathan Visger’s solo project, Absofacto. You can pick up [Loners], Sinking Islands, and Kiko all on Bandcamp.
Brian Konicek offers his solo album, Intitulado, for free on Bandcamp.