Hovvdy - Cranberry

by Kenzie Fitzpatrick Rating:9 Release Date:2018-02-09
Hovvdy - Cranberry
Hovvdy - Cranberry

“Don’t wanna be one you forget,” sighs the Austin, Texas-based duo Hovvdy’s singer, Charlie Martin, on the opener of their sophomore album, Cranberry, titled, 'Brave.' 'Brave' details a heart-wrenching kind of longing. While Morrissey was content to admit that he didn't mind if you forgot him, Hovvdy takes a more vulnerable stance, acknowledging what many of us don't want to – that we would honestly rather not be forgotten. "And I’ll do my very best. Be my brave self more often," Martin sings. Because, just as The Smiths famously said that it takes "guts" to be gentle and kind, Martin understands that the same can be said for bravery. 

If you haven’t struggled with self-doubt in your life, I sincerely hope that you consider yourself lucky. It’s highly unlikely, though, if you ask me, as humans are naturally imperfect creatures. (But that's a discussion we'll save for another time.) From Hovvdy’s unforgettable debut, Taster, to Cranberry, these hints of self-doubt, melancholy, and cautious, careful optimism continue to dominate. 

Where the duo of Charlie Martin and Will Taylor improve on their successful, layered bedroom pop sound, though, is in these songs' overall strength and clarity. The brief title track 'Cranberry' floats by, feeling warm and reassuring like a hazy afternoon in the height of summer where humidity blankets everything. 'Thru' is welcomed with a proper recording (one I was anxiously waiting for that doesn't disappoint, I'll add), and the mournful, down-tempo 'Colorful' plods by at a snail's pace, pulling at heartstrings the whole way. 

While Taster offered glimpses of the band's ability to craft simple, memorable songs that, at times, didn’t feel entirely fleshed out, Cranberry feels like a finished picture. The shorter tracks on Taster, (take 'Note,' for example), felt like quick, gestural sketches - leaving listeners (like myself) often longing for more. While Cranberry has a shorter tracklist than its predecessor, it's redeemed by the songs' feeling of finality and completion. Both new and old fans alike will be hard-pressed to find fault with this fantastic follow-up.

Overall Rating (1)

5 out of 5 stars