3D & the Holograms: 3D & the Holograms Album Review

Listening to Australian punk band 3D & the Holograms is like flipping through a carnage of comics. The carnage is flashy and colorful, an addictive thrill that keeps you turning the page. The scoundrels of Sydney are led by the gruff-voiced Billy Reilly of the Research Reactor Corporation. Ishka Teevee, who records as Tee Vee Repairman and Satanic Togas, handles bass, lead guitar, and synths. JJ Gobington, of Olympia, the Washington Gobs, fills in on drums and rhythm guitar. On their self-titled debut, 3D & the Holograms blast through 12 fast and nasty songs in less than 15 minutes, leaving a trail of broken drumsticks and frayed power cords in their wake.

3D & the Holograms formed as a way to combat the dormant lockdown months of 2020. Reilly was creatively restless and unable to play live with his other bands: the Studs, Mainframe and Motorheads. So he turned to Gobington to email him guitar and drum tracks that he later developed with Teevee in Sydney. The resulting debut is scribbled with distortion and laser beam guitar, and is propelled by Reilly’s gristly howl. Each trimmed track, none of which hit the two-minute mark, sends grim reports of a dystopian future.

For the most part, Reilly is yelling about technology turning against his master, be it a humanoid-spewing 3D printer (“Machine”) or a murderous AI entity (“Projection”). In “VR Execution”, imagine a simulation that allows you to witness your own death. “Tie you to the chair/Give the injection,” he croaks. “Projecting your own death/Into your frontal lobe.” The band goes on these rants about the distant-future sound culled from the old 7″: Teevee treats his synth like an electric organ, pumping out a mashing hook that glows like plutonium. Reminiscent of the mad-scientist energy of the electro-punks of the 70s, the Screamers. or a strain of rabid street urchin from early Devo.

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Despite his phlegm grimace, Reilly is more doomsday joker than punk politician, prioritizing a sense of humor in his many bands. “It’s like we’re a cartoon or like toxic avenger”, he told an interviewer around the time 3D and holograms were being formed. “We’re like a silly thing that the world is ending but who cares.” He was specifically talking about Research Reactor Corp., but the same themes apply to 3D: wasted punks stomping around in combat boots, dodging killer cyborgs. terminator-style. But thanks to his garbled delivery, unless you can hunt down a lyric sheet, you’ll have to enjoy Reilly’s banter at a glance at the track listing (see: “Sack of Meat” and “Buried in Leather”).

you may not know exactly what you’re saying, but Reilly’s lyrics are still made for barking. On “Asshole Hotline,” he plays an irate phone operator, listing numbers like “1-800 fuck you” and “1-55 eat my shit” as Teevee crafts a synth line suitable to guide a stadium chant of soccer. On “C4,” the singer creates his own dramatic ending, growling over trash can-lid traps. “They stick dynamite up my ass / I’m going to shit”, he predicts. A display of glass breaking in the background only underscores the band’s cartoonish gimmickry, like a “POW” or “KABOOM” scrawled in red block letters. 3D & the Holograms may be charting its own technological dystopia, but it’s inked in Day-Glo and peppered with only the most essential information, like where to rage and pogo while the world falls apart around you.

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