Hovvdy’s music feels like sunbathing—instantly warm, soothing, granting ample time for hard reflection. The Austin duo of Will Taylor and Charlie Martin have grown their sound from the seed of tender, fuzzy bedroom pop into something more nuanced, more expansive in instrumentation and feeling. They released a debut EP last winter, followed by a split in August with fellow Austin natives Loafer, and each made a quiet ripple. Now they’ve been touring the country, gathering momentum, and in a few days they’ll release a full-length, Taster.
The third single they’ve shared from the self-recorded debut LP, “Try Hard” veers away from the comforting guitar layering they’ve pushed on their previous releases in favor of trembling synths and a clipped drum machine. The song instills a sense of running something over in one’s mind, working something out; unease builds in the rolling melody as it chronicles a tenuous relationship until the painful line, “You never did try hard.” Or maybe it’s “I never did try hard”—it’s hard to tell apart “I” from “you” when Charlie and Will’s welded voices are just a murmur in parts, and the direction of the frustration gets muddled. And then it slows and quiets out to a low synth undertone and tempered acoustic strum, like understanding seeping in. “Tired of dreaming of the brightest light I’d ever saw,” they sing steadily, the longing for something better mounting, and it’s devastating.