Trashing the common sensibilities of pop with playful and cosmopolitan gumption, New York’s HOKO announce a debut EP release.
We are but our experiences in life, and HOKO have had their fair share. You can hear it in their music and their latest release is testament to this. Their band bio is the clear calligraphy of a group with stories to tell:
“From a bison farm, to Istanbul, to New York City living in cars and on couches to working with some of the biggest names in music, HOKO will be telling their story little by little in the year to come….”
It’s on their debut EP Heathen that HOKO write their own indie-pop commandments and make themselves a new religion.
Seemingly seamlessly, HOKO have transcended pop with a performative and edgy stance. Exploring the four corners of the genre with tenacity, the New York-based band have woven together supreme production with indie influences. Heathen is eight tracks of richly decorated soundscapes that range from breakup anthems to delicate summery soothers.
One of which is Candy Eyes, a leading single on the EP that hails from harmonious heights. Textural, underwater-esque effects are ambient and soft. Vocalist Nathaniel Hoho brings a deeply emotive sincerity to the role of lovelorn protagonist. This character is repeated throughout the EP, drawing on themes of heartache and nostalgia. Hoho explains,
“HEATHEN is the first half of a project we’ve spent almost two years conceptualising. Our aim was to create a body of work that sounded big, but was also sonically interesting, with songs that are accessible, but also have layers and complexity. All of my favorite albums give me something new every time I hear them, so that’s always something in the back of mind when finishing a song. Visually we wanted to pay homage to the artistic direction of artists like David Bowie & Queen who created beautiful images that stand on their own as art, not only as an accompaniment to the music.”
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Big Mistake is another ode to passed relationships, yet this time the story is told through a buoyant lens of electronica and drum machines. Whirling moments of intoxicating beats build on HOKO’s brand of unpredictability. “It’s a pop song with sitars and yoyos weaved through it; it’s a perfect example of the line we wanted to walk for HOKO,” says Hoho.
A modern band in every measure, Heathen is the visceral and visual embodiment of experimentation and confidence. HOKO have already executed their exact intention with precision. Which leaves us thinking, what could possibly be next? We can’t wait to find out.
Enjoy the full EP Heathen on Spotify below: