Toronto quartet The Hoa Hoa’s drop their new self-titled e.p. on Optical Sounds just as the band’s future becomes a little shaky, but still hopeful. Guitarist Femke Berkhout is headed to the Rietveld Academie in Holland to finish school, so their 4th release is more of a holding pattern than a sign off. Think of the cover lips as a see you later peck, rather than a kiss off. Stitching together lilting pop threads with buzzing guitars, The Hoa Hoa’s E.P. touches down on sounds that run the gamut from the organic gallop of touchstones like the Feelies, Modern Lovers (Falling in Love is For Young People), Sonic Youth, Velvets to dressing up their ‘psych-pop’ with more modern flourishes; a recipe that reveals their influences and mission without sacrificing their own stand.
Modern Men kicks off the 6 cuts with a bubbling electronic pump that should appeal to fans of later Dandy Warhols and the like. Falling in Love is For Young People mines the Modern Lovers for a driving gallop that lulls as much as it pulses. Blue Gumball ups the ante with a ramped up cadence that chimes and turns in on itself for an infectious drive as much as All the Time slows the proceedings down for a quieter trip. Heaven and the plaintive Going Out with Her round out the platter with the same hooks and execution that carry the rest of The Hoa Hoa’s E.P.
It’s smart pop that sounds modern and savvy, while tipping its hat to the legwork done before them. The Hoa Hoa’s may have an uncertain future, but they show they have a firm grasp on what they’re doing right now. And they do it very well.
Going Out with Her :: The Hoa Hoa’s :: The Hoa Hoas E.P. (Optical Sounds, 2011)
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