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"Bless Bless - An utterly charming début"

TUESDAY, 25 MAY 2010

Neo-folk is a big thing in the live music scene right now, as the success of local heroes Carry Nation, Lion Island and The Middle East demonstrates. Working within this milieu is Melbourne five-piece Houlette, who expand the sound by drawing on deeply French influences (as the name might suggest) – in particular, the work of Serge Gainsbourg. These French pop influences actually work well in the folk context (I know, I was dubious too), adding cosmopolitanism to a genre that often pushes too far towards the pastoral. The results can be stunning, as opener and lead single Pine Island, with its gentle-yet-catchy doo-wops and aah-aahs, suggests. Lead singer Felicity Cripps has a lovely voice – a touch of smoke mixed with honey – that complements Liam Linley’s backing vocals to excellent effect. Bless Bless (the Icelandic for “farewell,” apparently) is finely constructed and although perhaps a little precious is nonetheless brilliant. - RAVE

"Houlette goes to Pine Island"

'Pine Island is the impossibly lovely and groovy new single from local five-piece Houlette, taken from their forthcoming album...with the band's poetically narcotic yet moving sound and singer/songwriter Felicity Cripps gorgeously sensitive voice'
Tony McMohan - Inpress Magazine 2009

"Single Review"

'There is something warm and familiar about this tune, a mid-tempo country ballad with the clarity and confidence of a Paul Kelly song. The earthy, even-tempered male singer is joined by a lovely, flighty female voice and the effect is gorgeous - such lovely textures for such a simple song.'

Simone - Beat Magazine 2010

"HEAR - Houlette, Bless Bless"

Houlette is the sugar cube in your Stockholm Blend tea. Their French-pop, country-esque folk minimalism reminds you of better times, of simpler times when salt came iodised and men rode horses.

Bless Bless (which translates to ‘farewell' in Icelandic) is the band's debut album, following the successes of their precursor releases. Front woman Felicity Cripps' siren voice and heavenly lyricisms make for the most infectious of folk-pop records. The album's second single and stand out track ‘Tee Vee' features band member Liam Linley's smokey vocals married against peppy guitar riffs, classic driving beats and melodic bass lines it makes for a deliciously satisfying and swayable boy/girl duet.

‘Charlie Feathers' is the upbeat country ballad while ‘Doux Reve' is the French ode - while you may not know exactly what is being said, you know that it's heartfelt. Opening track ‘Pine Island' is the first single off the album, its ‘hooing' vocals and balmy melody are the perfect soundtrack to dancing the jive under the moonlight. ‘Longtime', another pounding duet is felt to life with bittersweet violin and aching vocals. Cripps gives Chan Marshall a run for her heartache (and full fringe).

Put this record on, watch the rain fall outside and think only lovely and blessed thoughts.

Sadie Lost - Four Thousand AU


2008 -
7" Single 'The Escape'
(EXO Records)

EP - Sans Soleil

2009 -
Single 'Pine Island'
(EXO Records)

2010 -
Split 12" Single 'Tee Vee'

Debut Album 'Bless Bless'
(EXO Records through FUSE distribution)



HOY- 60s inspired Melbourne based quintet, featuring vocal harmonies with songs that harbour classic elements of the folk and rock eras, whilst capturing a new-fledged sound. Comprising four-part vocal harmonies with warm strings offering classical sentiments, paired with leading electric guitars, bass and drums. HOY enters the prog-folk realm, drawing together the happy-pop of their past releases (under 'Houlette'), re-incarnated with broader harmonic structures and distinct beats pushing heart-felt melodies over the line, into a futurism full of warmth and timelessness.

Under the previous title of 'Houlette', the band’s most recent (official) release to date is debut album, Bless Bless.

In 2010 the band toured Bless Bless throughout Australia and spent three months touring twenty-one shows in Europe. A dilapidated chateau in France formed the base for the creation of album number two, and inspired their return and re-group in Melbourne under the new title, HOY.

HOY looks to Serge Gainsbourg, Australian beaches, The Beastie Boys, slow-cooked chicken soup, Francoise Hardy, Blur, classical chamber music (old and contemporary), and channel the warmth of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and appalachian folk.