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:: The Holiday Plan ::
08 October 2003 / Academy 3 / Manchester
By Dave Himelfield

The term “Emo” was first used (I believe) to describe hardcore groundbreakers Rites of Spring. They took punk away from the thuggish, jock contingency and began to play around with more than just power chords, creating a sound that managed to captivate more imagination without dropping the tempo. NME were keen to create some kind of scene around it some two years ago with a somewhat uneasy quadruple page spread of how to dress and who to like. Emo was seen as perhaps the next progressive step away from nu-metal and puerile punk. And then hairs were split once more. Emo became a pejorative term for whiny, Blink 182 in better fitting pants teen-friendly horse poo. “Post-hardcore” however was what mature, real folk listened to where the whines and screams were also real, apparently. There were some real pioneers; the ones that would pursue you through a sewer with a knife between the teeth intent on cutting your throat or more likely, pretend they hadn’t heard you should you use that word. Then there were those that really did deserve the labelling of a devalued subgenre and possibly the slashing of their guitar strings and £70 shrink to fit T-shirts. I mention no names.

The Holiday Plan are certainly undeserved of such belittling. How deserved of the former praise however fluctuates frequently. There are occasional emo-by-numbers moments where you’ll be biting hard into your foam 80s style baseball hat but there’s also moments of satisfying if not quite awe inspiring power. The usual stop-start angular guitars and rhythms together with vocals that oscillate between a resigned whisper and a throaty howl (presumably about soul-bruising ex-girlfriends) are all present. Instrumental breaks are suitably chunky and noisy and each piece displays a reasonable degree of thought processing. Place somewhere between the muscular angst of Hot Water Music, punked-up pop of The Get Up Kids and dark, wistful plaids of Sunny Day Real Estate and you’re getting warm. There are a handful that do it better (see above), but the number that do it worse however, could extend into quadruple figures. While The Holiday Plan couldn’t really be described as “essential”, they are essentially well above mediocrity.

Dave Himelfield

Holiday Plan Website

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