Indie-folk trio Hoo:Lumes (Sophia Darby, Drew Sencabaugh and Collin Demos) count among its influences, “visual art, religious ritual and the challenges of being a human being.” If that sounds esoteric, the sonic synthesis is immediate and close. Darby’s voice is crystalline and unaffected on “Tunnelvision,” from the band’s debut EP, Etchings of Birds, Swimming in Song. There are hints of Joni Mitchell’s Laurel Canyon and the emotional arc of The Swell Season.
“Huddled around a singular microphone on their back porch in West Asheville, Hoo:Lumes recorded ‘Etchings’ amidst the sounds of birds building their nests for the spring,” the band reveals.
“Fish Outta Water” has a DIY country feel: Calico thrift-shop dresses, cloud pictures, faded Polaroids, the dual ease and ache of romance. “Patent Leather” starts with simple guitar strums, the recording allowing the listener to hear fingers squeaking on strings before tender vocal harmonies fill in the space. And on “Shovel” there’s a lightness to the melody, an atmospheric hush that belies the inherent angst of the lyrics. The result is cathartic and rich, personal and universal. “If I had a shovel, I’d dig too deep right now,” Darby sings, as if offering a dark reply to the peppy folk chestnut, “If I Had a Hammer.”
“The video is of a live performance of ‘Tumble Me Dry,’ the fourth song on EP,” says Sencabaugh. “We wrote the song at an artist residency in Ireland. It was born from a state of utter mental, emotional and physical weariness.”