Review: Real Feel – The Holidays

Real Feel album cover art by The Holidays

The Holidays have stuck to their guns with their new album ‘Real Feel’, writes Jackson Langford.

Real Feel album cover art by The Holidays

Real Feel, the sophomore album from Sydney outfit The Holidays, has been four years in the making. After their wildly successful debut Post Paradise, the four year wait was certainly agonising to see what the indie-pop three-piece were going to come up with next, and they certainly did not disappoint.

A sound that’s so breathtaking that it is slightly overwhelming.

Opening with an extensive, Blade Runner style synth, first track Long Now sets the scene for the entire album.

The band has definitely not lost any of the excellence that was cemented in Post Paradise, but they’ve tidied it up a bit, given it a shiny makeover and made a sound that’s so breathtaking that it is slightly overwhelming.

Lead vocalist Simon James spent part of the break between records in Europe, returning to the studio with new experiences, and a firm intention to give the poppy album a contrasting undertone of melancholy. The opening track does not steer astray from that, as James croons, “What an odd idea/that under seas I would rather stay.”

Melancholy slowly shifts into apathy.

This carries on in to Home, where the upbeat instrumentals completely distract from the utter yearning in his James’ lyrics as he repeats “every little thing is as it was.”

Melancholy slowly shifts into apathy as the slightly heavier Voices Drifting begins to play. The bass is low and dominant, but not so much that it detracts from the droning chorus: “I like you ‘cause you don’t care too much.”

The most interesting track of the album, however, is the epic, almost 9-minute closer Morning Workout. While not stretching too far out of the band’s very distinguishable comfort zone, it almost sounds like the boys from Disclosure got their hands on it, as there is a clear house influence present.

It eases you out of listening to the album… and start the whole thing again.

It’s not unwelcome, but can definitely come as a bit of a surprise given the nine preceding tracks. It acts as a perfect closer for the album: it eases you out of listening to the album, but somehow makes you want to go back to Long Now and start the whole thing again.

Real Feel definitely is consistent with what we’ve come to expect of The Holidays. Despite being almost entirely devoid of sonic experimentation, it’s clear that the band knows exactly what they’re doing.

You have to appreciate a band that sticks to their guns, because at the end of the day, that’s what the fans want, and I can only imagine said fans are glad they endured the wait.


The Holidays, along with Pluto Jonze, will be performing at Bar on the Hill on Wednesday, May 28. Free entry for U members. Visit uonservices.org.au for gig info.