|Holobody takes on a fresh hybrid of experimental folk with Riverhood. Its weapons of choice: delicate vocals, reverberating harmonies and persistent beats. Musicians Luke and Charlotte Loseth weave spoken word, religion and catchy melodies into their incarnation of ambient music. With an added dose of electronica, the siblings create a winning combination that lands the album somewhere in the field of dream-pop.|
Riverhood maintains a wistful tone from start to finish with a profusion of layers and trance-like effects. But the album does show diversity. “Hurricane” and “Stomp Coda”, showcase the Loseth’s poetic and rhythmic nature. “Hurricane” eases in with a disjointed wave of random shouting and noise that rides on a simple bass and keyboard loop. Charlotte lays down a calm rap that guides the song into a flowing reverie. Her untraditional timbre sounds personal, as if her clear, quiet voice is internal and it’s the listeners who are actually “not asleep in this impossible heat/on the balcony hallucinating lucid dreams.”
“Stomp Coda,” carries many of the same unearthly qualities as “Hurricane” – the song sounds like stepping into a TV and walking through the different stations. High female notes echo around an inaudible male voice fizzling in and out and ends with an announcer and a jingle that sound like the beginning of a horse race. However, “Stomp Coda” is a little less “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and a little more folk with syncopated drumming and clapping, and a repeating piano/bass tune. This allows the album to ease into its contrast from electronic into more acoustic based songs.
Bells and a strummed guitar accompany lyrics like “I know a guy who’s got a lot to lose/He starts drink heavy/Gets a big red nose/Then he beats his old lady with a rubber hose then he takes her out to dinner he buys her new clothes that’s the way that the word goes round”, for an updated folk vibe in “The Way the World Goes Round.” The song seems like electronica’s attempted contribution to Americana campfire tunes.
“Riverbed” is like Holobody’s own version of the old soul song “Down by the River to Pray,” a song that they also cover later in the album. The song is broken up and fast-paced—short verses met by spoken word interludes and minimally soft choruses. “Riverbed” centers on purity and repentance with fittingly floating vocals and lines like “And when I die, take my body to the riverside/let the water wash me clean.” A similar idea is present in “Acid Rain” and “Down by the River to Pray,” vessels for creating the right tone. “Down By the River to Pray” begins with an innocent choral sound of layered a capella vocals, dissolving into haunting harmonies and laughter.
There’s good and slightly less good news. Tone is also the focus of the songs “Prelude,” “Procession” and “Michael,” each with few lyrics but a battery of dramatic cut offs, droning beats and nature sounds (birds, oceans and dogs). With the exception of a catchy tune at the start of “Prelude,” these three songs lose part of the pop allure that the rest of the album has to offer, getting a little lost in the dreamland of spacey effects and vocals.
The youthful sound of Luke and Charlotte’s voices make their careful crafting and blending all the more impressive. Boasting previous projects under the pseudonyms Felix Green and Sea Oleena, it’s not just beginner’s luck that each song on Riverhood runs into the next like a perfect puzzle piece. The minimalistic use of guitar, bass and keyboard that Holobody layers with mystical vocals help create a melodic album that makes for a pleasant listen. - SSG