Song: Hovvdy – Runner review

by Philip Moss

It was common practice in the sixties for the likes of Dylan and The Beatles to release a couple of albums a year, but, over time, the commercial juggernaut of the music industry took over. The idea being that an album cycle should run for two to three years in order to maximise the potential sales a record could have – by squeezing every little bit of promotion out a record that they could, and by sending acts on world spanning tours to ensure their products got global reach.

But hot on the heels of their best record to date – last year’s Heavy Lifter – Hovvdy haven’t wasted in anytime in following it up with new single, Runner. Released to little fanfare, and with no mention as to whether it precedes a long player, the Austin based duo of Charlie Martin and Will Taylor have shared the first taste of time spent with Andrew Sarlo (Big Thief, Bon Iver, Courtney Marie Andrews) at his LA studio.

Drawing from the fond memories of childhood and ‘summer in the 90s’, long time Hovvdy fans will note a thematic continuity in the song’s hazy reflections. But Runner does see some marked progressions. Not only does the chorus’ key change make it feel even more melodically focused than ever before, but the move to work with Sarlo seems a nifty one too – with the move away from self-production resulting in a soundscape that is richer and more subtly nuanced, but without losing the homespun nucleus that makes their work feel so special.

Runner may have appeared just nine months after their last LP, but it certainly suggests that their trajectory is going to continue. And fingers crossed, we may see an album before 2020 is out…

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