Last year, Hovvdy’s Taster was a humble collection of mellow, downtempo indie rock that found warmth and comfort in small observation. Dubbed “pillowcore” in their tags on Bandcamp, duo Charlie Martin and Will Taylor confront their obvious sonic connection to a certain era of painfully-named 90s alt rock with a wry play on words that feels oddly fitting for their brand of muffled introspection. Like Bedhead, Duster, and Red House Painters before them, Hovvdy split the difference between sleepy whisper and bevelled Southern drawl, leaning in on bent chords and open tunings to finally find meaning in heartbreak.
On “Petal,” the first single from their upcoming sophomore album Cranberry, the band polish up their muffled recordings, expanding their palette with subtle synths and basslines in the move to a bigger, better fleshed-out band. The spirit never strays too far from their original template, as Taylor carefully meditates on the impermanence of relationships. “Talk with old friends like I need to / We look up, feel tired and just smile,” slurs Taylor over gentle guitar. It’s a steady stroll through painful memories, one with a newfound confidence that as time moves, the pain that once felt overwhelming can come to seem so silly looking back.
Cranberry is out February 9 via Double Double Whammy. Check out “Petal” below.