hathaw9y has slowly and carefully crafted their style of indie and chill surf rock over a minimal number of songs. And with Sweet Violet Flame, the trio continues to build their discography and expand on the dual vocals heard on Boy Loves Hayley.
kiwi starts the three-song single with “Sweet” which also contains a feature by Seulhan Koo. The track goes by quickly, even with a three-minute 33-second playtime. kiwi’s vocals are mellow and melodic, matching the tone of the minimal guitar, bass, and drumming rhythms. On the verses, kiwi’s vocals sit a little higher than the instrumentals, but on the pre-chorus, the vocals go beneath the surface right before the coming up. It’s a little hard to tell where Seulhan makes his appearance though I’m thinking it’s during the chorus.
“Violet” is the main track at five minutes. The percussion sets the pace with the guitar adding a topline melody while the bass uses its higher octaves to give the entire song a lighter feel. The pure melodic nature of the bass helps keep the song feel like a breeze. TeukMin might have the main melodies, but kiwi’s accompaniment on the verses as a duet adds great support. The song does have a wandering feeling and halfway through “Violet,” kiwi takes over. I really like how organic the vocals feel, regardless of who’s in the front. The duel vocals switch with TeukMin supporting kiwi. The ability to have both vocals without burying anyone is impressive.
Closing the single, “Flame” sounds almost like a track that came from the Boy Loves Haley release. It has that same walking and wandering tempo with kiwi fronting the track. Sweet Violet Flame sounds like a kiwi chapter but allows TeukMin to be as present without creating an overcast to the band. If you listened to Sweet Violet Flame, you might think hathaw9y is female-fronted instead of shared vocals.
hathaw9y continue to create their signature in a kind of post-hyukoh world. I do think hyukoh made this style a lot more visible to international listeners and this next group of musicians is taking that and molding it into their own signature. I’ll continue to watch where hathaw9y go because when they release a full length, it could be a new classic in Korean music.