“Badger” has a heart wrenchingly eerie sound that creeps inside your bones. Stephen Houlihan’s ghostly vocals echo and intertwine around beautiful strings whilst percussion slowly builds. Although the band site Tom Waits and Mount Eerie amongst their musical influences, there’s a similarity to experimental hip-hop outfit UNKLE’s “Rabbit In Your Headlights” here, with Hiva Oa’s combination of disjointed beats and haunting vocals. The video for the track matches the song’s mysterious, dream like intricacy.
After “Badger”, “Urban” is a pleasant u-turn, more reflective of the band’s influences. Armed only with a simple acoustic guitar, the song channels an Iron & Wine vibe. The track also features on their album, making this double a-side treat an insight into Hiva Oa’s diverse writing style.
Although the band hail from Edinburgh, each member – Stephen Houlihan, Christian Smallwood and Marco Calderone – came together from Ireland, Belgium and Italy respectively. They’ve have had a busy year with the release of their debut album and their EP Future Nostalgia For Sale. As well as a successful album launch, they have supported a number of their peers on the scene including the acclaimed Adam Stafford, Admiral Fallow and Conquering Animal Sound.
Following the release of “Badger”, Hiva Oa are planning another single late January 2013 an EP in April and finally their second album nearing the end of 2013. This is just the beginning for the band who promise to be one of the most exciting prospects of 2013.
Hiva Oa release double a-side single Badger / Urban via mini50records on 10th December 2012.