Sunday, 9 June 2013


Album review by

A quick reminder for those who missed our reviews of singles 'Dogs' and 'Jack', or for that matter, anyone who may be entirely new to HVOB: the initials stand for Her Voice Over Boys. Why they use the initials instead of the full name is a matter you'll have to take up with them. HVOB are a production duo based in Vienna, another city which we've discovered of late has a thriving underground music scene. This pair deal in electro-pop that's more electro than it is pop. We're hardly talking Little Boots here, this self-titled debut album is full of electronica tracks that generally hang around the five or six minute mark but needn't be the reserve of people who listen specifically to this genre. There is a pop edge here and this is in part down to the vocals and the fact that, although lengthy, they write songs as opposed to pieces of music as it were.

They flit between minimal sounds and those with more depth, another factor that helps keep an album that could be heavy going for the average punter that little bit more accessible. This is expressed perfectly on the aforementioned single, given a lengthier name here, 'Jack (All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy)'. There are more club-oriented songs, some of which may be suited to the chillout room as much as the main arena, with 'Fog Machine' being a prime example of their house influence; recent single 'Always Like This' takes a similar route. There's a lot of music on this album and it's all to a high standard, but to pick out a few other tracks of note it would be worth heading for the laid-back 'Moon', the jumpy, melodic and experimental 'The Last Song Ever Written' and the beepy and minimal 'Hold Your Horses'.

It's unlikely that 'HVOB' will be for everyone, but then few albums are. This is a record that is lengthy and aimed at a niche market rather than pandering to the masses, but for fans of electronic music and also those who are happy to give music the time and effort it sometimes deserves (and HVOB certainly deserve it) then this will be a rewarding listen. So we'll be lucky to see any big sales impressions, but if the pair can keep evolving and putting as much thought into their songs as they do now then this is a viable option for them in the future. You could perhaps liken them to Hot Chip, a band who began in a similar way, gradually working their way into public consciousness to become a big band. I guess that will hinge on where they go from here, but this is a fine first effort.

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