Comprised of founding member, Allison “Sunny” Faris (vocals, bass), Laura Hopkins (guitar, vocals), Cat Hoch (drums) and Sarah McKenna (synth), the Portland, OR-based rock act Blackwater Holylight began as an experiment of what Faris’ own version of what “heavy” should be both sonically and emotionally. “I also wanted a band in which vulnerability of any form could be celebrated.” But interestingly, as Faris explains in press notes, her current band can trace its origins to when Faris’ longtime band split up. “In my last band, I was the only female in a group of 6, so I wanted to see how my songwriting and vulnerability could glow taking the drivers seat and working with women.”
Last month, I wrote about “Sunrise,” off the band’s self-titled debut, a single that struck me as meshing elements of Breeders-like alt rock, garage rock and swirling, towering shoegaze — but with soaring hooks, bringing to mind classic, 120 Minutes-era MTV alt rock, while eschewing familiar song structures. The album’s latest single “Wave of Conscience” is an enormous power chord-based heavy psych dirge that sounds indebted to Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath — and sonically speaking, could have easily been mistaken for a track off the incredible Brown Acid compilation series but while being a strident feminist anthem.