5 Albums I Can’t Live Without: HAUSER

Hovvdy – Hovvdy
Arts & Crafts

The songs from Hovvdy, Texas natives Charlie Martin and Will Taylor, lead with their heart. It doesn’t matter if it’s inconvenient or unpolished—life’s too precarious to live any other way. And that approach has led them to their definitive work: their self-titled fifth album. 

On “Give It Up,” Martin recalls a tender pep-talk: “‘It’s all in your heart’ / You say, ‘Don’t doubt it, boy / Don’t you know life’s too short?’” The track continues to blossom, each new instrument popping up like a unique wildflower: buzzy guitars, Auto-Tuned vocals, and strolling drums. Nestled in the latter half of Hovvdy, it feels like the band’s mission statement. Hovvdy embodies that advice and follows what feels right. 

In a 2021 interview, the duo shared their disbelief for how slow some of their earlier music is, laughing at the result from a combination of 3 a.m. beer and weed. But each album strays farther away from those slow-burning beginnings—and Hovvdy houses their most eclectic transitions and banger-certified pop songs. The 19-track collection is a microscopic photo album of their inner values at work, displaying a talent for vulnerable hand-sown vignettes of glitchy pop (“Bubba”) and muffled lo-fi (“Angel”) and raw southern rock (“Make Ya Proud”) and all of the above (“Jean,” “Forever”). Their unguarded reflections make every sonic left turn feel comfortable. 

On Hovvdy, time is the biggest adversary. They combat complicated realizations about aging, familial relationships, and grief by playfully messing with song structures. “Time, it’s tough to outrun,” Taylor sings on “Heartstring.” By the end, Hovvdy’s intimate recording room melts away as vocals are lost to the wind. 

“Time turned its back on me / I thought I had a lot of it,” Taylor sings, his voice sincere on “Every Exchange.” The track begins with a lone, serious acoustic guitar and then shrinkwraps into a wondrous folktronica track flush with bird chirps and breakbeats. But the frustration with time is tricky—Martin and Taylor also recognize it’s a currency of love. It’s the thing we curse because we want more of it. “’Cause you know my time is all I have,” goes the chorus on “Bad News.” It’s one of Hovvdy’s immediate standouts, with Martin and Taylor trading verses—their first song to do so since “Left Out” off their 2017 debut. 

That’s sorta the joy of Hovvdy—they’re spinning gold from the yarn of time, sounding forever grateful with their heart as a compass. GRADE: A-

You can preview Hovvdy on Bandcamp and elsewhere.

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