Often what makes us love a piece of music is the sense of nostalgia it can bring, the way an artist expresses love or sadness as an admiration of the past and a longing to feel those feelings once again. Austin, TX duo Hovvdy are no strangers to this, as their band is built upon hushed musings and tenderly strummed guitars while quietly pining for tiny flashes of comfort. Charlie Martin and Will Taylor would sing about fleeting sights on long drives in the country, staying up late with old friends, and living in the moments where every faded colour and swirled texture carries so much weight.
There's an unnamable edge to memory, an agitating pleasure in reviving the thorniest parts of our past. To remember what's painful, or banal, is to protect against the slog of the present, the mundanity of growing up. It's within this blurry psychological terrain that indie-pop duo Hovvdy thrive. Will Taylor and Charlie Martin sing longingly of what's lost and what remains, of the small moments that can epitomize a life: driving alongside your significant other in silence, watching YouTube videos in bed, playing catch with your friends in the front yard.
I arrived late to the hammock-hangout hums of Hovvdy. But Austin natives Charlie Martin and Will Taylor, whose fourth full-length True Love glows with dusty middle Americana, won me over from the tender "doo-doos" of opener "Sometimes." These are the boys you'd bring home to meet your parents, their music so unassuming and light that, as the platitude goes, it passes like a Lake June breeze on a balmy afternoon. That's not to say that True Love is a surface-level saunterer.
Hope is an abstract concept, whereas joy is easily explained. The Austin duo Hovvdy (Charlie Martin, Will Taylor) have songs named after both terms on their fourth album. And accordingly, Hope is a somewhat ponderous song that points to the long path of parenthood and pushes some musical boundaries for the duo. But it does so without any of the weirdness of 2019's Heavy Lifter.