Hovvdy – ‘True Love’ album review

Photo credit: Pooneh Ghana

‘True Love’, Hovvdy’s fourth album, finds the duo embracing their lo-fi, DIY roots while examining the tumultuous nature of all kinds of relationships…

Produced by Andrew Sarlo (Big Thief, Bon Iver), the album opens with the sweet, soulful and soul-searching 80 seconds of ‘Sometimes’, a song all about asking for forgiveness with the running message: ‘I will always look up to you’. The fuller, bolder alt-folk sound of the title track follows and is full of personal questions and moments of self-doubt: ‘Do you believe what I said? That I am the man I say I am’. ‘GSM’ is a stripped-back, piano-infused piece that asks about the difference between breathing and wheezing before offering a declaration of (true) love: ‘Could never see you again but I’ll try my hardest to be there right by your side’.

With its sampled vocals, hypnotic melody and pure synth sound, ‘Hope’ feels more futuristic but retains that theme of being there for loved ones – ‘Do you misunderstand what I said? I’m on your side’ – while optimism abounds on the Flaming Lips-esque ‘Joy’ with its romantic heart: ‘We could get back together, let go of everything’. ‘One Bottle’ offers a heartbreaking account of the feelings that take hold when someone is no longer in your life – ‘Talking words can’t tell you how much I miss you’ – before ‘Blindsided’ takes the record into more of a Yo La Tengo sound, complete with twinkly keys: ‘I could have used you in my life’.

The country-tinged ‘Junior Day League’ gently ups the pace as it moves along and anxiety takes over – ‘Don’t think I’ll make it in time, I’m always changing my mind’ – before ‘I Never Wanna Make You Sad’ closes the album in appropriately compassionate style. Gently experimental with strings in the mix, it finds the band telling the subject they’ll do everything needed to ‘lift you up because you deserve it’.

Full of passion and warmth, ‘True Love’ is an album you’re going to fall for…

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