Tuesday, 30 December 2014

HOWQUA, Naked, Debut E.P.

Info: The first thing that struck me about Australian artist HOWQUA when I popped on his debut E.P. Naked, was how searingly emotional and powerful his voice was, right from the get go on the soaring 'Art Beat' there's an optimistic if pained tone to be found. Atmospheric and Sigur-Rós-type guitars lead into the above track, 'My Mindset', an introspective on personal shortcomings and self-doubt, which I found just as powerful and excellent as opening track 'Art Beat'. While the first two tracks I've mentioned are quite anthemic, fourth track 'Her' pulls things back a bit, it's very cool and mellow, rhythmic and basically a real pleasure to listen to. 

'Waiting...' is definitely what you might classify as a crowd-pleaser, it's upbeat, invigorating and a declaration of confidence and optimism. Naked finishes strongly on 'City Sounds' which goes for a more acoustic and folky sound and is an observation on surroundings, which nicely edges it's way towards an ethereal soundscape. To throw out a few loose comparisons it reminds me a bit of Elbow's Guy Garvey, Bon Iver, and at times, just a small bit, Chris Martin (purely vocally). I really liked this E.P. and the listener is quite spoilt with 6 great tracks compared to the standard 4, HOWQUA proves himself to be a reflective songwriter and lyricist who can also write some top range music.

Side note: Although no dates are confirmed, HOWQUA is planning a small Irish tour for 2015, will have updates during the year.

HOWQUA, 'Art Beat'

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