When you think of rock star twins, there aren’t many good examples. Be honest, Nelson was the first band that popped into your head. Ok, I’ll accept the Jesus Twins from the Howard Stern fans out there. But let go of your preconceived twin notions and give a listen to the self-titled debut CD from Hollow Illusion (formerly Hollow). These are twins that truly know how to rock.
Hollow Illusion isn’t only notable because the two members are twins. They also don’t feature a guitar player. Ove Mikkelsen Hoel plays bass while Mangus Mikkelsen Hoel is the vocalist. They have a drummer who isn’t a featured member of the band. Ove plays the bass like it was a guitar with surprisingly heavy, yet catchy riffs. His playing reminds me of a cross between John Entwistle and Cliff Burton. Pretty big comparisons but the way he approaches the bass to carry the musical load warrants it.
Overall, the music is really strong. From heavy riffs to power bass chords, he has a full sound and fills the space well. Mangus‘s vocals took a few listens to really get into. He’s got a strong, unique voice (well, unique except for his brother who sounds just like him) which is good, but it took a couple listens before it blended well with the music. His voice reminds me of Paul Stanley, only deeper and not as flamboyant. Songs like “I Don’t Care“, “Rain” and “The Fighter” show some great musicality and potential for the band.
The true strength of the band comes out when they play live (see the video below). Mangus‘s voice is much more animated live than on the CD. That may be due to some doubling of the vocal tracks on the CD. I also found myself watching Ove on the bass. Seeing the sounds and riffs come out will have you rocking along to the songs. What they can do with just vocals, bass and drums gave me a whole new appreciation for their songs.
Overall, this could be a strong up and coming band. I do think they need to add a guitar. It would add another layer to their sound and could provide some interesting interplay with Ove‘s bass. Mangus needs to continue developing his voice. That said, they’ve got a solid foundation and some great hooks. Hollow Illusion is a band to keep your eye on.