Analogue Music | Hovvdy - Cranberry


Artist: Hovvdy · Written by Steve Schusler

Date Released

9 February, 2018


Double Double Whammy


33 minutes

Prolificacy is becoming a rare thing in music, these days. Especially in the world of independent music.

Making independent musicianship a viable vocation that can pay the rent and keep the lights on often forces bands into relentless cycles of touring because record sales have stopped equating to a reliable source of income. When prolific artistry gets mentioned in the context of independent music, its often associated with names that have deep resumes like Ryan Adams or Bob Pollard.  Artists who can afford to swing their income pendulums towards the direction of record sales due to committed fanbases that they can almost set their watches to buying whatever it is they issue, including, but not limited to, song for song covers of Taylor Swift albums. The veterans aside, what’s even more rare is being young, relatively unestablished, and prolific and it’s an uncommon occurrence for an indie rock band to release albums in consecutive years.   

On a much smaller scale and sample size, I give you the ambitious outlier, Hovvdy, an Austin, Texas based duo that followed up their 2017 debut, Taster, with 2018’s equally impressive sophomore effort, Cranberry. Part of what initially drew me to Hovvdy and continues to draw me back is the distinctiveness of their sound. Narrowing them down to a genre that effectively describes them to a stranger is no simple task and the best I’ve been able to come up with is lo-fi slowcore, and that can range anywhere from the angular to absolutely beautiful. But even just tagging them as such feels unjust. It’s hard explaining what they sound like by comparing them to contemporaries or others that came before them. Wild Pink seem to draw the most parallels from a general perspective of pace and penchant for dreary melody with early Death Cab for Cutie and Pedro the Lion as suspected influences.             

Also, this isn’t a recommendation for one album over the other because they are equally worth the meager approximately 30-minute investment time to listen.  My suggestion would be to start with Taster then proceed to CranberryTaster is a more varied piece of work when it comes to song structure and which instruments to feature.  When all its pieces click, however, certain songs reach a harmonious pinnacle of sounds with examples such as “Problem,” “Friend,” and “Left Out.” 

Cranberry is much more cohesive and consistently strong with far fewer unique highpoints and, therefore, is best consumed from start to finish. However, if I had to pick one song off it as a selling point, I’d have to go with “In the Sun.”

The likelihood of Hovvdy continuing to release albums at the clip of one per year is probably not something worth holding your breath over, but if the band’s first two releases are any indicator, their future should be bright as well as prolific.