The Holy Roman Army

The Holy Roman Army


The HRA are Chris and Laura Coffey, a brother and sister who have developed their own distinctive brand of vocal-led, loop-laden electronica. Their music fuses glitchy laptop beats with melodic sensibilities, and has been compared with acts such as DJ Shadow, The Notwist, Portishead and Múm.


The Holy Roman Army are Chris and Laura Coffey, a brother and sister from Co. Carlow, Ireland. Having spent their teenage years messing around at home with Casio keyboards and tape recorders, they started writing music together again in late 2007 when Chris found himself with a load of self-produced, half-finished beats and soundscapes, and sorely in need of inspiration. The introduction of Laura's ethereal vocals and guitar provided a more melodic influence and offered an intriguing counterpoint to Chris' dense synth-and-sample-heavy tracks.

Released on their own Collapsed Adult label, debut album 'How The Light Gets In' is a distillation of their varied musical tastes, fusing glitchy laptop beats with melodic sensibilities, garnering comparisons with acts such as DJ Shadow, The Notwist, Portishead and Mum. From the hushed ambience of opening track 'Berlin' to the dubby 'Lastwood' and electronic pop of 'Neon In Our Dreams', the album covers a broad terrain of musical influences over its eleven tracks.

The dark lyrical themes on the album are informed at times by Chris and Laura's day jobs, working as a doctor and psychologist respectively. Expressions of loss, alienation and escape echo through the album, complementing the music at times, as with the haunting 'Elegy' and 'Empty Skies', yet jarring compellingly with the brighter sounds of 'Stagger Gently Home' and 'Neon In Our Dreams'.

'How The Light Gets In' was recorded by Stephen Shannon in his Dublin studio. Stephen's ability to meld the experimental with pop sensibilities in Halfset made him the ideal producer for the album. His knack for extracting hooks from the unlikeliest of places, combined with his and Chris' shared fondness for old-school drum machines and booming bass, has come to characterise much of the album.

REVIEWS for 'How The Light Gets In'

5 stars: Totally Dublin Magazine
4 stars (Album Of The Week): Metro
4 stars: News Of The World
4 stars: RTE Guide
Album Of The Month: Icon, Phantom 105.2FM
One of the Top 5 Irish Albums Of The Year So Far:
'[a] remarkably accomplished debut' Sunday Business Post
'an intriguing snapshot of their progress to date' Irish Independent
'the thrills are in the textures...elegant, neatly arranged tunes...the next appointment cannot come soon enough' The Ticket, Irish Times


Tracks streaming on and


"How The Light Gets In" (Collapsed Adult Records)
Release date: June 26th 2009

(free Bandcamp download)
Release date: March 2010

Release date: December 2009

Set List

Typical set list = 30-60 minutes (5-10 songs)

Songs include:
How the Light Gets In
Dublin in the Deadlight
Stagger Gently Home
Caught in the Wire
The Only Star
He's Not Responding
Neon In Our Dreams

Covers include:

The Pixies - Wave of Mutilation
Pavement - Here
Skinny Love - Bon Iver