Review: Hovvdy – ‘Taster’

Posted: by Riley


After an EP release in 2014 and their Stay Warm split in 2015, Hovvdy has finally released their full length debut album, Taster and it’s exactly what we’ve been hoping for. The two piece band from Austin Texas consists of Charlie Martin and Will Taylor. This album dives into the relateable subjects of relationships, confusion and regret while keeping defining characteristics.

They couldn’t have started this album off with a better beginning than the song “Better”. The opening track lasts a little over a minute long, but stands alone as an absolute tone setter for the rest of the album. With lyrics such as, “You could not stick around/ I was looking for a better reason not to call you back”, you feel this track slowly but surely grabbing both of your hands and pulling you in for the rest of the album. There are many defining features in this album but one of them is the first thing you hear when you put it on. The production style is something that can’t be missed. Even as the album opens itself you’re greeted with distortion and a sweet timid voice finding its way through it. The atmosphere of every song sounds like it’s being played from the basement under your house and it almost fits together too perfectly.

You can’t help but notice some reoccurring topics in this album. Taster takes a step outside of itself and looks at relationships not working out and the certain regrets that go along with them. An example of that is the 4th track, “Try Hard”. The lyrics paint a picture of two people who don’t seem to trust or communicate well with each other. Each of these people has too much built up inside of them to sustain the relationship they have. “Leave you in the dark sometimes/ I am unclear today/ Take enough to make it home in streetlight”. The lyrics then proceeds to mention that he forgot his partners father’s name and that he “never did try hard”. In a way this could be seen as a confession that has finally risen to the surface. What goes wrong in a lot of ended relationships is one or both people  do not admit to their mistakes, and I think this might be them finally coming to terms with their wrongs.

There are layers to this album that go beyond it lyricism too. Though this album could be seen as having a laid back feeling due to it’s gentle guitar medley and Charlie’s engaging voice guiding it, but there is somewhat of a trick to that. You listen to the album as a whole and you hear story telling lyrics with simple guitar riffs that you keep thinking about for some reason. That may be because Hovvdy seems to be mastering the art of layering one simple, sweet guitar riff over another and another. In “Cant Wait” you hear about three different guitar pieces all intertwining and it’s happening right under your nose.

Taster is Hovvdy’s strongest piece yet and from it I was able to get a better grasp on what they want to give to their audience and it has made me want to keep an eye out for them. This album is an excellent place marker for how much they’ve progressed and stayed honest about themselves from their first EP in 2014.


– Riley D