On their 2012 self-titled debut, Holograms drew comparisons to the gloomiest corners of the original post-punk scene. On their second album, Forever, the Swedish quartet build on those influences while focusing and refining their songwriting, emerging as credible descendants of a very specific strain of ’80s dark-wave — the Gun Club, Comsat Angels or the Chameleons.
Yet Forever is no nostalgia trip, and that’s thanks mostly to the vitality of Holograms’ music. Keyboards are more prevalent in the mix, from the corrugated synths humming through “Luminous” to the frantic chords dominating “Rush,” while frontman Andreas Lagerström’s reverb-coated vocals are fraught with desperation. And although Lagerström isn’t always easy to understand as he howls his way through the straightforward punk throttle “Meditations” and early Cure-influenced strum “Flesh and Bone,” the urgency in his voice is unmistakable. Forever feels invigorating and slightly dangerous at the same time, which produces a refreshing atmosphere of reckless abandon.