Click here to return to the main site.

Music Review

Cover Image

No Smoke, No Mirrors


Artist: The Holloways
RRP: £13.99
Available 05 October 2009

The Holloways are a four-piece indie-rock band from North London. Their first single ‘Two Left Feet’ entered the charts at number 33 in July 2006, with the follow-up ‘Generator’ charting at number 30 in October 2006. ‘Generator’ was subsequently named the NME's 16th best song of the year for 2006.

2008 saw a rather bad time for The Holloways what with a lengthy legal battle with their American label and then a fire ripping through the home and HQ of The Holloways destroying almost everything. But things are now looking up; a new band and new sounds for 2009.

Alfie Jackson (guitar, harmonica and vocals) and Bryn Fowler (bassist and backing vocals) are now joined by two new members, Mike Baker (guitar) and Edwin Harris (drums).

No Smoke, No Mirrors is The Holloways brand new album which comes with a happy-go-lucky feel and just goes to show the optimism of the band members and how they have managed to use their life-experiences and turn them into something positive.

The album kicks of with ‘AAA’, a fast paced, upbeat tune. I love the melody of the chorus and the harmonies throughout. The vocals are spot on and this just sets the scene for the rest of the album.

‘Public Service Broadcast’ carries on the happy vibe to this album and although a little slower it still has that fun pop feel. At times it sounds a little country and western. I’m sure there could be a hoedown to this track!

The opening of ‘On The Bus’ starts with some cool guitar strums, it has that rough and ready feel. The vocals are very ‘geezerish’ which I just love as it adds character to the song.

‘Jukebox Sunshine’ is lively and jam-packed with pop spirit and humour. The chorus is big, colourful and overflows with happiness. I would challenge anyone to say they don’t enjoy this track. What is there not to like?

The beginning of ‘Sinners n Winners’ reminded me of George Formby’s ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’ and then the bass guitar kicks in and gives it a little more sophistication. The beat is good on this track although there is a presence of what sounds like a banjo running throughout.

‘Under A Cloud’ is a slower track but this band always manage to make their songs sound chipper and happy which is what I love about them.

‘Cool Down’ has a good strong beat and catchy melody. Again the harmonies are strong and fit well with this tune. There is a great solo part on the guitar, which sounds very Hawaiian; this then carries on through the song.

A little more sophisticated sounding is ‘Alcohol’ I say this, as it seems to be more ‘grown up’ in the vocals and rhythm than the other songs on this album. Still a good tune to listen to.

I love the guitar riff on the opening of ‘Listen’, which then opens up to the drumbeat and onto strings with the melody; what a fantastic intro. The strings remain throughout the remainder of this song, which just adds more depth to it. I think I can say this is my favourite track on the album; it’s catchy with its cool and vibrant vibes.

‘Little Johnny Went To Parliament’ is downbeat but still cheeky in its sound. Listening to the lyrics though this song has a serious subject, which is kept lighter from the cheeky vibe of the vocals.

The final track on this album is ‘Knock Me down’, which is a slow ballad of acoustic sounds. I absolutely love the bass, which kicks in at 2 mins, 28 secs, it’s something reminiscent of a James Bond theme tune. This is a very emotional feeling song and finishes this album of perfectly.

The Holloways are a cheeky fun loving band and I love their outlook on life: ‘The sun doesn’t always shine’ and ‘Everything happens for a reason’ are two of the phrases that The Holloways live by and this comes through in their music.

This album has definitely been worth the wait.


Helena Rea

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£8.98 (
£8.95 (
£9.99 (
£10.97 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.