Grand Jury · October 1, 2021
Sometimes an album can speak to experience; but rarely does an album speak to the soul. True Love, Hovvdy’s fifth album since 2016, is one of these projects. Conveying a sense of gentle relatability, True Love embraces the growing pains of relationships with an unforeseen maturity. Employing softly intellectual lyricism and complimentary instrumentals, True Love serves as a salve, one of the most raw, yet most comforting albums of the year.
Hailing from Austin, Texas, Charlie Martin and Will Taylor have been creating music together since the release of their debut EP ep in 2014. Since then, they have made a name for themselves as lyrical masterminds, spinning tales of the simplicities of everyday heartache with soft indie-driven backings and tender vocals. Employing sounds from Midwest emo to electronic, Hovvdy displays an aptitude for any genre that can carry their lyrics. This range is clearly illustrated in True Love, offering enough variety that each song can stand on its own while still creating a cohesive album.
From the outset, Hovvdy introduces True Love as an anthem of heartache. Simple and lyrically driven “Sometimes,” the first track, establishes the thematic elements shown throughout. “I will always look up to you / often laugh about your smile / even though it’s hard to / I will surely move along.” These opening lines illustrate the simple, refreshingly direct lyricism one can expect from the rest of the songs, paired with something always unexpected in indie rock: maturity.
In addition to the musicality shown throughout the project, there’s a sense of acceptance and accountability that distinguishes it from others of its kind. For once, it seems an indie band isn’t perpetuating toxicity for the sake of being toxic. Instead, Hovvdy carries listeners through the range of emotions that exist in the gray between breakup and reconciliation, approaching the subject with a soft maturity that recognizes hurt as an essential part of growth. From the third track “Lake June,” where their own weaknesses and uncertainties are exposed, to “GSM,” where they chronicle the feeling of holding love for someone they’ll never see again, Hovvdy lays bare the inner thoughts of every person in the wake of personal change. From songs like “Blindsided,” where the instrumentations and lyrics of accountability are heartbreakingly beautiful, to the final track “I Never Wanna Make You Sad,” where lyrics such as “Find a new normal / we’ll be alright” show an acceptance of an unexpected reality, Hovvdy speaks to everybody with an intensely, painfully relatable project.
Delivering an album that goes above and beyond expectations, Hovvdy has reaffirmed their place at the top of the soft indie rock genre. As a deeply personal, yet widely relatable project, True Love speaks to the experiences of every listener, offering consolation and solidarity to those navigating the murkiness of heartache.