Understories is the whimsical product of the indie-rock outfit, The Hollyhocks, which is slated to hit shelves on June 5. The group features vocalist/guitarist Kristin Sobditch, guitar player Dan Jewett, Yuri Jewett and Jason Silverio. Maintaining soft-spoken vocals and a slow, steady pace throughout its length, Understories creates just enough of that coffee shop vibe without becoming annoying. Instrumentally, the record is interesting and entertaining. With fast-paced musical peaks and poetic string sections, the album never becomes one continuous, whiny love song.
One noteworthy track off Understories is “Sugar.” The song is spacey, musically complex, and simply a pleasure to listen to. An unexpected cover is included on this composition. “Photograph,” originally a Def Leppard song, is broken down and lightened up by The Hollyhocks. The eighth tune, “Rosie,” is a dream-like, gentle ballad whose easy-going pace could accompany just about any romantic scene on film. The song “Everyone’s Here” is a fun-loving and silly number that breaks up whatever underlying tones of seriousness you may have detected within this otherwise light record.
This album quickly becomes the soundtrack to a summertime memory with its basic, floating structure. For the most part, the vocals come across as joyful, but there definitely is a pining in the voice of Sobditch. The Hollyhocks is a fitting name for this band that sticks close to naturalistic vibes and their organic roots.