Review

Holy Hive

Harping

Big Crown • 2023

After two albums for Big Crown in 2020 and 2021, things have become quieter around Holy Hive. Now the New Yorkers are re-releasing a deluxe edition of their first EP »Harping« from 2019. While influences such as Latin-American ballads or Anatolian funk were already present on the self-titled album from 2021, the pure folk-soul that singer Paul Spring and drummer Homer Steinweiss stand for can still be heard on »Harping«. Together with a bevy of guest musicians, ranging from Californian songwriter and singer Sasami to Leon Michels (El Michel Affair), they have created five timeless songs which make various retro sounds their own and express an expansive feeling with their falsetto vocals and irresistible groove. With the instrumentals now added, it is immediately striking how sophisticated and multi-layered the songs are even without vocals. What becomes even more obvious however – and the title clearly indicates this – is how central Mary Lattimore‘s harp playing is. Whether setting the tone in the direction the melody takes or more restrained in the background, she and her harp are crucial to the gentle, dreamy vibe of »Harping«. For this reason alone, it is worth extending the EP to include the instrumental versions, which illustrate impressively why Holy Hive have already been described as »the introverted alternative to Khruangbin« at this point.