When Mohho reached out about howaho‘s new EP, I was under the impression that Mohho and eeeho released multiple EPs or another full length that I had missed. Looking at the duo’s discography, 2015’s Unknown Origin is the only album and they released singles from then on. Now at the end of this year, howaho has a new EP, an evolved sound, and, at least to me, a new energy.
Unknown Origin was a 2016 best folk album nominated album, but Wave Crest is a move toward alternative indie rock mixed with electronic elements. Wave Crest isn’t a set of songs that hybridizes both genres. Instead, the EP is an organic weaving of styles and genres together to create something familiar and new.
If you’re familiar with eeeho or Mohho, you’ll definitely hear the two artists’ core styles and an expansion and exploration of the soundscape as a duo. “Wave Crest” is an accurate description of the track’s audio. Every instrument comes in a back-and-forth flow with the vocals flowing each verse’s peak. It engages your ears quickly because “Wave Crest” isn’t a track you’ve heard before but still has pieces of nostalgia.
“Have A Tea” is a bit more standard alternative and indie rock mixed with electronic synth. The vocals still fall a bit into folk territory and the song sounds like a careful genre layering. But you can tell there’s a very careful composition balance. Instrumentals don’t overpower the vocals and vocals aren’t meant to lead the song, but add to the total soundscape.
The stark difference between Unknown Origin and Wave Crest is obvious, but the years between the two releases also reveal how eeeho and Mohho changed as musicians. Each moment is carefully crafted. “Funeral” is the perfect example. There are purposeful beats of silence or sustains that lead into the next grand melody.
The EP is 23 minutes long with six songs. Overall, it’s a quick listen but each song is an excellent piece that fits into the total thematic narrative. Wave Crest’s audio style centers around the idea of water and this is shown in every song. You feel like you’re watching the ocean, standing in a stream, or looking out at a lake and seeing the dynamic relationship between the environment.
howaho’s move into an electronic-alternative style sounds completely natural. Both vocal styles fit the instrumentals perfectly. It doesn’t sound like anything was forced with these songs. The organic flow gives Wave Crest a timeless presence. This is one of the best EPs of 2023.