The Holydrug Couple


Manchester’s YES is the hottest new venue in the North West, drawing attention with its unique 4 floor experience. It therefore comes as no surprise that its Basement room has been chosen by the promotion coalition of Band on the Wall x Grey Lantern x Manchester Psych Fest for tonight’s show.

Opening are Echo Ladies from Malmö, Sweden. The shoegaze/dream pop three piece have attracted attention recently by releasing a single with Cocteau Twins legend Robin Guthrie on label Sonic Cathedral. Their set is comprised of songs from their debut LP Pink Noise which was released earlier this year and both sides of the aforementioned single including their cover of David Bowie’s ‘Rebel Rebel’. The entire set is drenched in fuzz and delay, to the extent that at times it’s a little difficult to make out the elements involved. The shoegaze greats would be proud.

Tonight’s headliners come from Santiago, Chile, where 10 years ago, in a house on the outskirts, Ives Sepúlveda Minho and Manuel Parra started playing music together, and The Holydrug Couple was effectively born. They self-released their debut LP Awe in 2011, this attracting the attention of Sacred Bones who went on to release the Ancient Land EP in 2013. This was soon followed by Noctuary in the same year. They then toured extensively before following up with the now notorious Moonlust in 2015. Fast forward a few years and they are back, playing a basement on a wet Monday evening in Manchester. The release of their latest LP Hyper Super Mega prompts the appearance and represents the culmination of everything they’ve learned in their years as a band.

They take the stage as a three piece – don’t let the name fool you – and commence into a veritable array of tracks taken from across their back catalogue. Highlights include the dream drenched ‘Atlantic Postcard’ from Moonlust, which transports the room to another dimension with its intergalactic countenance, fan favourite ‘Dreamy’ from the same album, with its haze drenched vocals and rhythmic sway and ‘Forever End’ from Hyper Super Mega which offers a clearer, more defined sound, showing the bands shift from album to album and the development of their music as a whole. The only negative is the excessive use of the smoke machine by venue staff which sees them literally disappear from sight. Whilst this can be appealing at times, for those of us who like to appreciate the details of live performance, its an annoyance that could have been avoided.

The packed room laps them up from start to finish and cheers in abundance as their set draws to a close. It’s likely to be a while before they are back and that makes tonight’s set all the more magical.

The Holydrug Couple: Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter

Lover of all things psych and shoegaze and the mind behind Astral Elevator; constantly seeking new musical experiences in a world full of noise.