Picture this. Film noir. The fading glamour of the golden age of Hollywood. Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity. Bogart and Bacall, Brando and Garbo. That’s where Holy Mountain, the brilliant debut by Grandamme, will take you. This dreamy and haunting chamber-pop delight, released on the consistently brilliant Def Presse in September, simply smacks of forties/fifties-era City Of Angels.

Despite that, Holy Mountain’s creators hail not from Bel Air, but from a combination of Bath and East London. Singer/songwriter Claudia Kane and composer/multi-instrumentalist Bastien Keb recently combined to form Grandamme and together they have crafted a distinctive and idyllic sound. Holy Mountain’s tunes are imaginative, polished and intelligent. Take the superb Big Escape, for example. It is icy-cool and aloof, yet eminently danceable. Two-thirds of the way through it throws us a dummy when it suddenly morphs from the place it has taken us into a drowsy slow burner. It is an incredibly inventive piece of songwriting, one that cements Big Escape as one of my tracks of the year. 

Album opener Poolside has a strong Lana Del Rey vibe – it’s languid and rich in attitude, all kinda “tired of everything”. The remarkable Deep Dark Sky is like a waltz through teardrops. Bells chime like trinkets atop a bassline that sounds as if it has fallen out of a Tom Waits album.

So many highlights. Holy Mountain is a record that is absolutely worth throwing yourself into. If you do, I can guarantee that Grandamme will become your new favourite duo. 

You can read more about it in my Louder Than War review here.


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