Lay Your Hands is a pretty foreboding title for a song. An imperative command that immediately sets a tone of dominance and subservience, that sense of shadowy intent is embodied in the opening seconds of the new single from Holy Boy. As we move into its chorus there is a sense of more tender motives behind the title; overlapping and ominous synths give way to a melody that cries passion and desire. If that level of evocative involvement isn’t what you want out of a song, you will find no sympathies in Helene Alexandra Jaeger’s world.
Jaeger’s pen name of Holy Boy might be unfamiliar to most, but the artist will be known to some as having previously operated as Her Royal Harness. Whereas her previous project’s style was frantic pop, the new venture of Holy Boy offers a more refined and composed sound. Having had an early glimpse of the forthcoming self-titled EP, there is a definite shift in Jaeger’s music. Not seismic, but certainly there is a development into a maturer and more composed feel. Considering the factors that gave influence from the artist’s personal life to this record, it is not surprising that the sound of Holy Boy is noticeably darker than her previous work.
Having already released the singles The Blood Moon and Deep Sky, the latter a song which has an air of attractive indifference, Holy Boy’s next release is the prelude to the eponymous EP which is due to arrive on the 9th of June. A solemn and imposing six track record, it is a confident display of Jaeger’s darker aesthetics in this musical project, and Lay Your Hands is an integral component to that. Aside from offering a moody sound, there is an inescapable movement that grows stronger the deeper into the song you move; to call it captivating is to scratch the surface.
What makes this project all the more interesting is Jaeger’s descriptions of the influencing factors on her work – the relationship between life and death, the conscious and subconscious minds, and existentialism forming the foundations. Borne out of the artist’s own personal experience with death, this has – as it often tends to in a format such as music – given her the opportunity and emotion to express feelings that, for many people, are inexpressible.
On the surface it appears to have come to Jaeger relatively effortlessly, but by her own admission the creative process behind this concept piece pushed her into experiences few would normally consider. Having experimented with the likes of automatic writing as a grieving mechanism, she states that the whole course behind Holy Boy has lead to a deeper exploration of her own stream of consciousness. A topic of the times without a doubt, but if the likes of Lay Your Hands are the end results of those journeys then long may they continue.
Words by Sion Ford