When I say to you Black Lightning, what do you think of? Is it the mid-century motorcycle, once hailed as the fastest in the world? Or perhaps the song named after it by Richard Thompson? Or the DC hero who controls electricity? The mystery of Common Holly stems from her deeply emotional, but powerfully obtuse, lyricism. Her music rewards deep listening, parsing out the dangling dangers of urban spaces with unfulfilled desires and deep pangs of hurt. Her latest full length, WISTYBL, is a bristling, evocative collection of wistful and windy dark-folk compositions.
Common Holly is the Montreal by-way-of New York sing-songwriter Brigitte Naggar, so named for the festive vines that one might use to deck the halls during Saturnalia, or perhaps that other December holiday. A few sparse guitar chords into one of her many soft-sung melancholic compositions, one might confuse Common Holly as part of the sad-girl indie epoch that dominates digital music discourse, but this does her a disservice. The gentle guitars and lilting vocals of her music are the centrepiece to be sure, but the wiry indie rock and post punk arrangements have antecedents much older. As affecting as Mount Eerie, as mysterious as Vashti Bunyan, Common Holly is an artist that deserves full attention.
Biography by Liam Prost