|In their first album, Riverhood, Holobody boasts refreshing and charismatic tracks to amplify the averages of indie pop. The album’s extremely colorful and vivifying sound does not simply entertain; it highlights the art of songwriting, making Holobody’s craft both impressive and original. While retaining its genre’s casually unconventional aspects, Riverhood demonstrates vocal talent, a driving flow, and several expansive elements. Indulging in folk, a cappella, and even a slice of trendy hip-hop, Riverhood lights up its assorted style with limitless energy.
Representing Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Holobody consists of siblings Luke Loseth (AKA Felix Green, a producer, songwriter, and versatile musician) and Charlotte Loseth (AKA Sea Oleena, songwriter and vocalist). Along with a slew of guest artists on violin, vocals, and more, the pair has created a record to spice up the indie pop category. To be released on the 12th of April, Riverhood never halts its dynamic current, strenghtening its overarching theme in comparison to each individual song. The album sports several arrays of vocal styles, rhythms, and musical twists unlikely of a band’s first record, but we stand impressed even without that fact. The songs are catchy without irritation and are familiar without overuse. Despite some tonal disruptions, Riverhood presents an enjoyably modern selection of folk aspects and skilled composing.
The album’s vocals sustain much of its spirit. Many of the tracks express elaborate harmonies, and show off the sonorous similarities between the two siblings. At times, they emit a generic indie tone, but their talent often exceeds these instances. Holobody experiments with vocal filtering and echoes (“Way The World Goes Round”), as well as arrangements involving odd pauses and breaks (“Prelude”). Layered vocals, alternating speakers, and eerie background voices create an organic surround-sound effect. Holobody even finds middle ground between rapping and lyrical speaking (sing-talking?), opting for a saucy/bored mood indicative of any indie genre. At its most elegant moments, Riverhood illustrates skill in a cappella arrangements (“Unfold,” “Down To The River To Pray”). Most of the lyrics are difficult to understand, but do we care, considering the band’s expertise? Well… maybe a little.
Perhaps the most essential aspect of Riverhood is its drive. No matter the rhythm or the mood, each track moves purposefully because of its special elements. Surprisingly, the album hardly emphasizes percussion, except for carefree snapping, old-school stomping (“Stomp Coda”) and hollow bass drums (“Michael”). In fact, the strength of other instruments determines the flow of each song. In “Unfold,” the song swells like waves on the shore with its background vocals and resonant piano. Acoustic guitar multitasks in both sound and inflection when played passionately, and makes a pronounced rhythmical appearance, especially in “Michael.” Transitions are another strong rhythmic suit of the album, especially when changing or layering meters (“Prelude” > “Procession). Riverhood’s use of heady bass proves most appealing. An incredibly low and reverberated bass line cruises under the first three songs, instilling a major motif through a seamless flow. Often, the bass takes the lead, having us grooving and mesmerized with its lulling flow (“Riverbed,” “Michael”). Holobody even works with reggae rhythm (“Acid Rain”) and beat-boxing (“Riverbed”). Clearly, the band possesses a strong sense of the word “jam,” utilizing all of their strong instruments to create relentless momentum.
At times, Holobody tends to a cheesier tone. “Way The World Goes Round” and “Acid Rain” exemplify Christian contemporary with its campfire rounds and happy-go-lucky tone, but its roots cling more closely to old folky morale. A stranger addition to Riverhood revives an old classic, but making “Down To The River To Pray” as uncomfortable as possible may have been Holobody’s real goal. Firstly, it is set in a different key… understandable. But beneath the strange background conversation and a tempo varying from the traditional march, a dark and scary piano pounds terrifyingly. It sounds like evil hell bells, and if it weren’t for the lyrics, no one would recognize it. Maybe that is the point.
If a revival of the indie pop genre is necessary, Riverhood makes a good remedy. In fact, the pop label does not do the album much justice. Enough musicality, groove, and talent exists to ensure Holobody will add range to its genre and release more in the future. Catchy music does not always mean great songwriting, but Riverhood certainly offers both and more. - In Your Speakers