Oh, Holiday Inn, you totally threw me off there! I thought you were going to be some relaxing, beach-front tiki band or something, ready to allow me to relax the day away. I was waaaay off. Instead of a restful, er, “holiday” vibe, what we have instead is a deep, dark, dystopian post-punk extravaganza, the one-sided twelve-inch approach only serving to reinforce the gravity of the material. What’s on the second side? NOTHING! Everything is important, so it’s all right up front. It’s up to you to dig through it. And not like you’re digging through sand on a beach – I thought we went over that already.
Post punk, you say? Easy to slap that label on a release like White Man, and boy is that a John Lydon-esque title if I’ve ever heard one, self-aware, self-deprecating, and self-flagellating when paired with the music, which, indeed, sounds like PiL and Suicide fist-fighting each other in backstage green room. There are three major elements that stand out: the percussion, drum machines, which sounds like someone banging on metal objects; the vocals, obscured by effects, snarling epithets and slogans as if each word is more distasteful than the last; the synthesizers, drilling, burrowing into your skull and undercutting while simultaneously providing the foundation for the rest of the record. It’s mean music, sure, but relatable – plebian in complexity, maybe, but subtle and humorous as well.
The four tracks are exercises in bashing your forehead in frustration against various things at various tempos. “Who’ll Join My Tribe” and “Mushroom” are squiggly punk at a herky-jerky pace, while “Edward” flares up into white-noise disco and “White Man (Don’t Trust)” (don’t trust the white man, people!) squirms along for almost nine minutes of thick, squelchy dub. It’s no wonder that Holiday Inn share a label with fellow post-punk clangers Trouble Vs. Glue – they could share stages together and no one would think twice about it. It’s easy, then, to see the answer that’s in front of you – slap this wax right on your turntable (or slap the digital files right into your MP3 player of choice and slap that play button, even though digitally slapping anything isn’t as satisfying as slapping the real vinyl object onto something designed to play a slapped vinyl object) and 1980s dance away twenty minutes of your life.