elkyn debut album ‘holy spirit social club’ is out now on Curation Records. ‘holy spirit social club’ sees elkyn aka Joey Donnelly put his uncensored inner dialogue on paper, bravely airing the thoughts most wouldn’t dare expose. Whether that’s hurtful messages to one’s self, vague and elusive memories or lingering lessons from childhood, it’s all here on ‘holy spirit social club’, unfiltered and searingly honest.
This sincerity is matched in the music. While the arrangements on ‘holy spirit social club’ are far more expansive than those heard on 2020 EP ‘beech’, tender finger picks and elkyn’s distinctive half-whisper still remain at its heart. Though the pain is palpable, its impact is meditative, enveloping the listener in a safe haven where you feel free to acknowledge the darker parts of yourself.
Rainy regret-tinged evenings, dominate ‘holy spirit social club’. ‘last night’ concerns the final night he spent with a friend, considering the ensuing loneliness that awaits. While ‘everything looks darker now’ recounts a rainy night in Manchester when he shied away from an old friend.
This unflinching honesty has seen elkyn become a streaming success in recent months, with the one-off singles that followed ‘beech’ making it on to a number of Spotify editorial playlists. After a lockdown spent demoing, he entered Nave Studios with Producer Mark Gustafson, creating more complete songs than ever before. The process was so cathartic for Donnelly that he went on to name the album after the social club that once existed in the basement below the aforementioned studio.
Whilst elkyn isn’t exactly kind to himself on ‘holy spirit social club’, it does see him lift a monumental weight from his shoulders. In elkyn’s words, it’s “an interim into writing nicer songs and being nicer to myself”. In creating ‘holy spirit social club’, he has faced demons that he’s shied away from for too long, finding a way back to himself that previously felt impossible. It’s only by sitting with your darkest moments that you can begin to glimpse the light - ‘holy spirit social club’ is proof of that and a whole lot more.