Hovvdy’s name makes it glaringly obvious that the duo of Charlie Martin and Will Taylor hail from Austin, Texas. However, listeners might not make this connection upon their first discovery of Hovvdy’s music. There is undoubtedly a slight, folk influence, but it is often overshadowed by an electronic indie aesthetic. Their most well-known song “Pretend” is a far cry from Texas twang. “True Love” was dropped with a subtle bang Oct. 1. It shows a slow creep toward indie folk rather than indie pop, which is what Martin and Taylor are predominantly known for. They seem to be trying on folk for size since their popular release of “Taster” in 2017, and it certainly fits.
When first delving into the album with “Sometimes,” images of lyrical dance and fleetingly beautiful fall leaves might come to mind. Not a moment too soon, this near-ballad abruptly jumps from dejection to the title track, “True Love.” This song radiates a warm glow, soft fabric and pressed flowers. Its optimism and genuine undertones show through earnest lyrics — “Like my old song / Colorful houses / They keep my head up / I’m still walking.” Upon further contemplation, it makes sense that would in turn be unyieldingly comforting — perfect for coming of age in the autumn air. East coast residents at the University could absolutely appreciate how this album personifies fall and its chilling embrace.
“Around Again” is a sobering change in pace. It’s a melancholy departure from the first chunk of the album — a palette cleanser from all the pep. “Hope” soon picks back up where “GSM” left off. Appropriately for its name, “Hope” sounds confused and contains production that exudes this uncertain feeling. Seemingly random noises are scattered throughout the instrumentation, pulling the mind in a variety of different directions. This brings forth unbridled feelings of anticipation and — for lack of a more fitting word — hopefulness. Even better, the song screams Alex G circa 2019 with the popular “House of Sugar” album. The overly filtered vocals have that classic Alex G sound that has become so popular in recent years.
Listeners of “True Love” will become familiar with the hints of heartbreak and sadness that sneak through the album in the form of downbeat guitar chords. “Joy” repeats, “We could get back together” and muses, “In another world, I’m with you.” Even if you’re in a long-term, healthy relationship, this will definitely tear away at your heartstrings in an achingly beautiful fashion. “Joy” oozes the kind of sadness that is sometimes nostalgic and paradoxically comforting.
Overall, the album’s lyrics are focused on some relationship and an alluring significant other. This seems routine for indie folk tunes, and “True Love” is certainly no exception. The album keeps listeners on the edge of their seats waiting for this faceless couple to try again. By the end, you may be left wishing for some sort of emotional resolution — it’ll never come. The maybes fade into just that — the end to this complicated love affair never arrives. Fans might have to lie in wait for the next Hovvdy release, since even “True Love” — in the album and in life — seems to have its ups and downs.