God Is In The TV reviewed THPG's upcoming release on Audiobulb Records:
Somewhere in the midst of all that glossed over, trendy, auto-tuned bullshit that we call the modern day music industry, there are bands who truly deserve to be listened to, and you won't find them in the five pound January sale section of your local supermarket, you have to dig for them, and it's generally only luck that allows you to find these gems.
The Hole Punch Generation are one of these gems. Formed over five years ago in Boston, they have been compared to Radiohead, Sigur Ros, Arcade Fire and Coldplay, but strangely sound nothing like any of them in general (perhaps tinges of Sigur Ros). What we have here infact, is lush dreamy soundscapes reminiscent at times of the likes of M83, but never losing any form of originality.
Here is music that is happy to sooth you to sleep, here is a band that desperately should not be overlooked.
Coke Machine Glow is one of THPG's favorite blogs. They had some nice things to say about THPG's upcoming release:
Boston trio the Hole Punch Generation formed five years ago, and since then have been fine-tuning their “sounds like” radar to nail as many big names as possible. A quick look at their Last.fm web reveals impressive icons: Sigur Rós, Arcade Fire, Radiohead, and Coldplay, plus 24 pages of unsigned duos who vaguely sound like M83. With a lure that big they need a pretty good hook, and luckily they’ve got one in the form of vocalist Patrick Balthrop, who howls like someone’s bored two 4mm holes in him using penetrative office equipment. How ironic. While he plays guitar against the synth, drum, and video tracks of Caleb Epps and Adam Sturtevant, the Hole Punch Generation identity takes form: break-up songs drowned in neon gloom, or Cut Copy channeling Gordon Sumner as opposed to his friskier dance cousin Bernard. You’re given seven seconds to imagine how that kind of fusion could possibly work until “Don’t Go” explodes, bursting into life with a sledgehammer of shoegaze that hits you and vibrates for forty minutes. Welcome to the world of the Hole Punch Generation: everything thrown at you, kitchen sink first.
Surprisingly, everything that follows the kitchen sink actually sounds pretty good. Balthrop’s falsetto can easily handle the drum crunches and giddy keyboards like the pained teenager he’s mimicking, and as he screams, “Don’t Go / Don’t Go / Never forget” on the intro, you get an inkling of sincerity, and not just the notion these are razor blades he’s half-heartedly leaving for his family to discover. It helps that his bandmates can match his voice for intensity; the blasts of dejected guitar on “Shallow” are just the job for first-time runaways, and “Masquerades”’ chiming riffs paint summers as cruel as anything Bananarama dreamt up. Balthrop’s singing is only part of the Hole Punch Generation’s arsenal—they take a surgical approach to songwriting, with each track’s breathy neurosis carefully dissecting Roxy Music’s Avalon (1982) and everything on Type Records. If you want disheveled symphonies, you’ve come to the right place. If you want Richard Ashcroft’s solo career crossed with the sounds of an interrogated unicorn, you can come in too.
The one thing THPG isn’t is bland, which is odd considering the apparent lack of restraint in its try-anything formula. People halfway out the door will pause by the time “The Morning After” kicks in, because it’s not often you get to hear a three-piece band attempting Squarepusher drill beats (especially when the singer’s just stunned you with a “Wish I could kill them all”). It’s the same story on single “Conversations,” where a slightly less-than- Squarepusher drum loop still kicks the bejesus out of a hangdog guitar line. Every time you think HPG are defaulting to conservative pop-rock, they lunge in a spontaneous direction, and force you to go with them and attempt to keep up or have your arm violently dislocated.
Occasionally they swap their energy for something more dreamy, such as the folk leanings of “They’re On To Me,” where Balthrop steps five paces back from the microphone, but there’s the suggestion that these are just dips in excitement rather than a slump or distraction. If you want their manifesto in one easy nugget then look to the finale, “Coyotes.” It’s here where, after eleven previous passes, Balthrop’s indecipherability winds itself beautifully around Epps’ electronica and Sturtevant’s patter of drums. It feels right that you can’t tell what he’s singing. The sane people out there might question the intentions of a band who put only six clear lyrics on a forty-minute pop album, but the sane people are not to be trusted. They haven’t digested 250 bands to make one album. Or named themselves after a desk utensil.
Textura reviewed THPG's upcoming self-titled release on Audiobulb Records:
Together for five years, the Boston-based The Hole Punch Generation delivers on its self-titled album an intense shoegaze pop sound that draws upon the melodicism of a band like Coldplay and the impassioned attack of groups like Radiohead and Arcade Fire. Delivered in an plaintive plea, the opening song “Don't Go” establishes an emotive shoegaze template that the album's subsequent eleven songs will largely follow: soaring vocal melodies presented in rich, multi-layered harmonies with Patrick Balthrop's falsetto voice and beehive electric guitar playing out front and bassist Caleb Epps and drummer Adam Sturtevant not far behind. Each song comes across as an impassioned outpouring of one kind or another, and the trio fleshes out its core sound with analog synthesizer flourishes, electronics, toy pianos, strings, and an occasional injection of field recordings.
Moods range from euphoric (e.g., “The Morning After,” powered by Sturtevant's post-punk drive) to melancholy, even sorrowful (“Shallow,” “Conversations”), and the songs' lyrical content concerns the usual life issues of love and loss, but as with much shoegaze music the words are a secondary concern to the music's sonic punch. Changing things up halfway through, “Reprise” revisits the opening song as a brief drumless exercise that spotlights the strong impact the group's vocal delivery can have when heard all by itself. While the group isn't averse to using advanced production methods (SuperCollider, Max/MSP, and Reaktor are cited) in crafting its material, The Hole Punch Generation is a song-based band first and foremost that doesn't lose sight of its words-and-music foundation; that the album's dozen songs weigh in at forty-one minutes speaks to the group's adherence to song lengths that hew closely to a three-minute average.
Leicester Bangs reviewed THPG's upcoming release:
From Boston, USA, The Hole Punch Generation have been together for the best part of five years, methodically crafting their song-based spectral electronic music. Apart from synths and laptops, they also employ guitars and drums, though the former are treated through various ‘magic’ boxes and the latter, courtesy of Adam Sturtevant, have something of the mechanical about them – it’s a most pleasing effect.
Amongst the beats and electronic swathes is the voice of Patrick Balthrop, which is in turn haunting, ancient and desperately vulnerable. It provides an acute emotional hit that never feels manipulative or forced, and as the “Conversations” taster single indicated, they can rip your heart out without compromising a sound that is inspiring, uplifting and, frankly, bloody beautiful. Fans of everyone, from Radiohead to Eno, would be wise to track this down.