Howlin’ Whale’s new single “Many Lives” starts off in a haze of a slow-rolling groove. The melodies slink around in the foreground, painting us a picturesque introduction that is fully-realized in the imagistic video for the song, released this spring to a warm reception from critics and fans alike. When Howlin’ Whale begins to sing, her voice merges with the instrumentation as though the two were separated by omnipotent forces for too long. Their reunion spurs forth one of the sexier harmonies of 2020 to date, and possibly the signature swing of this artist’s career so far.
While I love the instrumental patchwork that forms behind the lead vocal in this song, there’s no disputing that Howlin’ Whale’s voice is what puts “Many Lives” into the top tier of new indie tracks this May. She’s aching with emotionality here; from where I sit, it feels like she’s begging for us to listen to her pleas, if for no other reason than to consider their applicability to our own lives and experiences. She’s transcendently relatable in this tune, but not by design. “Many Lives” is all about aesthetical contrast, and that alone makes it a one of a kind listen this season.
The music video for Howlin’ Whale’s latest release concludes with the singer/songwriter wandering down a railroad track, harmonica in her hand. It’s an ominous image, and one that hints of her return in the future. Though I was only just recently introduced to the music of Howlin’ Whale, I think she’s going to be one of the more talked-about independent artists to come out of this era in American alternative pop. She’s hitting all the right notes in this single, and if she can keep running with her present creative concept, she’s going to be in this game for a long time.
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