HVOB, Joel Chandler | Smart Bar | Dance | Chicago Reader

HVOB, Joel Chandler Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Thu., Sept. 24, 10 p.m. 2015

Show is postponed until further notice.

Appropriately enough, the electronic sound of Austrian duo HVOB—aka Her Voice Over Boys—ebbs and flows in step with the seductive vocals of leader Anna Muller. And the more her voice resembles a whisper, the more you’re encouraged to crank up the volume. Her tender singing provides dynamic color that nudges the group’s otherwise timid-sounding production to unfold, build upward, and envelop you in a cocoon. HVOB plays downtempo pop that’s reminiscent of minimal house music and is influenced by longstanding German indie band the Notwist—it’s easy to imagine Notwist front man Markus Acher dueting with Muller during a remix version of the pensive tune “Reason,” off HVOB’s self-titled 2013 album. April’s Trialog (Stil vor Talent) is more brooding and immersive than its predecessor, the duo layering in more complex instrumentation without letting the songs get too dense. On “Cool Melt,” for example, the nimble, handclap-spiked percussion and melting horn line gel into an engrossing, ascending melody that goes higher and higher with no apotheosis in sight, yet Muller’s serene vocals keep the track grounded—she remains prohibitively cool even when she uses a word like “viscosity” so many times you can’t help but take notice.

Leor Galil

Price: $16, $14 before midnight

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