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Holding Absence - The Greatest Mistake Of My Life

Holding Absence photographed by Bethan Miller
Holding Absence photographed by Bethan Miller

Last Friday the explosive sophomore album by Holding Absence was released. The Greatest Mistake Of My Life is an album that’s I’ve been excited for since the first single ‘Beyond Belief’ was released, and it reached past all of my expectations. It’s an album full of huge anthemic songs with gut wrenching lyrics and incredible performances from everyone in the band. I am floored by the album every time I listen to it in full, it’s incredibly well produced and the thought that has gone into every aspect of it shows. You know this is a band who cares. Even with more than a few long songs on the album, it doesn’t feel like you’re waiting for it to end, every part has its place. And when the album ends you just sit there in silence contemplating it all. There’s only a few albums that have me in that state when I finish listening to them, My Chemical Romance’s ‘The Black Parade’ and Muse’s ‘Drones’ being some.

I love how the album has a thread running through it all, it feels like one cohesive piece and to me those albums are always the best, this is also tied together with the spoken word pieces that appear throughout the album. These are poems frontman Lucas Woodland wrote after reading about some people’s ‘greatest mistake’ of their lives. I think this is something that ties the whole album together for me, it gives it more dimension.

The album starts with ‘Awake’ as an intro, it’s a beautiful piano instrumental with textured noises and whispering from the band members that builds up to the explosive opening of ‘Celebration Song’. The opening is actually quite emotional, you can feel everything with full force and the burst of the words ‘I’m alive’ is like a reminder that we’re here and we should celebrate that. That high that we feel on that song lasts through the whole album, with every emotion that’s presented.

Holding Absence: James Joseph, Scott Carey, Lucas Woodland, Ashley Green - photographed by Bethan Miller
Holding Absence: James Joseph, Scott Carey, Lucas Woodland, Ashley Green - photographed by Bethan Miller

‘Curse Me With Your Kiss’ is the next song on the album and it’s another one that is absolutely incredible. It’s a classic Holding Absence song with more depth than before. The production on this album is incredible, so massive shoutout to Dan Weller who produced this album with the band. ‘Afterlife’ is an incredible rock song with all the elements you want from a rock song, though this one took slightly longer than the other singles for me to get into, it’s full of passion from everyone in the band and it’s one I can’t wait to hear live.

‘Drugs and Love’ is another epic that chronicles wanting to fill the emptiness you feel with something, whether it be drugs or love, or something else entirely. The juxtaposition created by naming those two very different ways of coping meaning the same thing within the song is really clever and not something I had thought about before.

‘In Circles’ is probably my favourite song on the album. As soon as I heard it when it was released I was hooked, I listened to it on repeat that day. I love the journey and the build up the song takes, I love the slightly softer feeling and how that compliments the guitar tones on the song. It’s a cyclical song, about living the same day over and over again and wanting to break out of that cycle. It’s haunting and catchy and I love it. I think this is one of Woodland’s best vocal performances on the album as well.

Nomoreroses takes you back to the hard hitting after ‘In Circles’ and again this was one of the songs on the album that took me longer to get into, but the power of it is overwhelming, in a good way. It’s the angry counterpart to ‘A Godsend’ from the first album and its questioning religion and belief. Which then leads us to ‘Beyond Belief’ which continues on that theme but in a song that is catchy and will get stuck in your head for days. This was the first single from the album that we heard and again as soon as I heard this one I was hooked. It was described as a breath of fresh air on the album and I agree with that, it’s like lifting your head up from all the emotions that have been flowing so far and belting out the words. It’s another one I can’t wait to see live.

‘Die Alone (In Your Lover’s Arms)’ is another one of my favourites on the album and is one go Holding Absence’s best songs to date. I absolutely love everything about it, it’s an epic song with so many layers to it from the piano and hard hitting drums to the duet between Lucas and Caitlin Woodland. I think this is another one of Lucas’ best vocal performances on the album so then when you add Caitlin’s vocals into the mix as well it’s just a powerhouse, one of my favourite parts on the whole album is when they are alternating ‘in your lover’s arms’ and increasing in power each time. It blows me away. This is without even mentioning the euphoric instrumental on this song. I love how the bass and guitars drive the song with Ash Green’s incredible drumming pushing it all forward. Even if you don’t listen to any other songs on this album, this one is well worth your time.

‘Phantoms’ is a beautiful spoken word interlude that leads us into the last song on the album ‘Mourning Song’ which is bombastic and filled with emotion from the band. It also ties back to ‘Celebration Song’ at the start of the album and continues with the same themes of death, but from the opposite perspective. Woodland talked about this song being about living for someone else in his track breakdown on Rocksound which I highly recommend you watch, I will link it at the end of this post. Again I think this song really ties all the themes of this album together in the most Holding Absence way possible.

‘The Greatest Mistake of My Life’ is where the whole idea for this album started. It’s a Gracie Fields song from 1937 that Woodland discovered when his grandmother showed him a record of her uncle singing the song acapella. Woodland was so inspired by this that he took that title and worked the rest of the record around it. This cover that comes at the end of the album fells like a full circle moment. It’s just a short song but having it recorded with a piano at the end really completes the album for me.

Lucas Woodland photographed for Kerrang! by Bethan Miller
Lucas Woodland photographed for Kerrang! by Bethan Miller

This album to me feels like a huge step up for the band, both musically and lyrically and I think the addition of Scott Carey to the band is one that was a huge asset to this. They way the band works together to create something as incredible as this is amazing and is something you can see clearly in the documentary that has been made of the making of this album. I will link that at the end as I think it’s worth a watch.

Listening to this album was emotional, not only because of the music and songs but also because it’s incredible to see how far the band have come in recent years. To see a band from my hometown achieve the level of success that they are is so amazing. They have worked so hard to reach this place and this album is testament to that. Please, go and listen to ‘The Greatest Mistake Of My Life’ by Holding Absence, it’s not one you’ll regret.

Thanks for reading, until next time…

Listen to The Greatest Mistake Of My Life on Spotify here.

Follow Holding Absence on Instagram here.

Go to the Holding Absence website here.

Watch making 'The Greatest Mistake Of My Life' documentary here.

Watch the Holding Absence track by track for Rocksound here.

All After Midnight links here.

Music Submissions and Enquiries to


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