Summer’s almost here, and that means it’s time for people to enjoy their favorite warm-weather activities. For some, the season leads to raucous music festivals and extreme water sports. Others take a more laid-back approach to summer, preferring relaxing afternoons at a park or a beach with friends, good food, and a bevy of mind-altering substances. “Mind Safari,” the new single from Stockholm’s Holy Ship, is perfect for pairing the latter category with a dash of grand psychedelia.
Not to be confused with the nautical EDM festival, Holy Ship is the new solo project of Stockholm’s Jonatan Westh, who previously played in the 2000s shoegaze group Blackstrap. Westh’s Holy Ship moniker isn’t just a groan-worthy pun: His psych-rock explorations are decidedly angelic and celestial. Massive waves of guitars that wash over the proceedings are eventually joined by a stabilizing bass line and Westh’s tenor. Tom-heavy, towering percussion contrasts the floaty atmosphere, bringing a bit of African flair to the track (and perhaps inspiring the safari reference in the title!).
Holy Ship’s music is easy to compare to the space rock of Spiritualized or the ethereal shoegaze of Slowdive, but Westh also finds inspiration in more far-flung places. “I was listening [to] a lot to old bossa nova like Antonio Carlos Jobim and Astrud Gilberto, and [I] was inspired by the textures in that genre,” he says. Indeed, his emotive, saturated atmosphere is what makes “Mind Safari” such an immersive listen. Instead of relying on a pop verse-chorus-verse structure, he leaves the tune open to develop more naturally, taking the listener on a journey instead of returning them again and again to a big hook.
“Mind Safari” is the opening cut from Holy Ship’s new EP, Event Horizon, out now on Declared Goods Records. While Holy Ship might be a new project, the quality of the production and atmospherics suggest neo-psych goodness comes to Westh naturally.