K-Holes – DismaniaPosted by Ashleen Aguilar
Sigmund Freud explained the id as the immature part of one’s unconscious. It wants what it wants when it wants it, regardless of social norms and mores. In their sophomore album, Dismania, Brooklyn quintet K-Holes explore what happens when one’s id is overindulged, specifically presenting drug addiction, a common presentation of an id gone wild.
Made up of former members of Golden Triangles and Black Lips, K-Holes wasn’t meant to last more than a single gig. But “long nights holed-up in a concrete room … staring at one another through a haze of smoke, Budweiser [sic] cans crashing like cymbals against the floor,” (Hozac Records) led to their unique brand of post-punk.
Between their grimy surroundings and the intoxicants, K-Holes have plenty of inspiration for their modernization of 70s’ New York punk. They don’t necessarily preach anarchy, but K-Holes’ can induce a Dionysian frenzy with their fuzzy saxophone, tribal percussion and feminine wails. A grey haze colors the album, and the heavy guitar and vocal distortions place the band squarely in their ancestral NYC punk roots.
Male and female voices share the vocals on the most emotional song on the album, “Window in the Wall.” It is the groggy morning after a wild night, a slow, spaghetti-western soundtrack to the Walk of Shame. The androgynous narrator(s) express the desire for lasting companionship, “What did I expect? A love to stand beside me … A love that won’t deny me,” a want that can be understood by men and women.
“Nothing New” stands out on the album as one of the few songs that has discernible lyrics. The pulsing percussion slowly and steadily drags the song along as the narrator laments his addictions: “Don’t wanna have this habit / But I just reach out and grab it / But I do / I do.”
Since Ian Dury’s 1977 single, sex and drugs have been synonymous with rock ‘n roll and K-Holes don’t make any attempt to change that cliché. Dismania is rife with drug themes (“Frozen Stiff,” “Acid,” “Mosquito,” “Numb,” “Nothing New”) and self-aware id indulgence (“Child”). During the past 20 years, bands have experimented with punk and pushed it to contemporary, experimental level. But K-Holes are more than post-punk; they represent a classic punk revival.