Listencorp review image of dear deatheater by ivy hollivana

Dear Deathwaters

Ivy Hollivana


Liam Murphy

September 24, 2019

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

Deep choral movements appear as we are introduced to Ivy Hollivana’s first EP. Vocals appear gently alongside plucked strings that…

Deep choral movements appear as we are introduced to Ivy Hollivana’s first EP. Vocals appear gently alongside plucked strings that seem to float and buffet together with the deep choirs. Ivy’s voice drips with purity and emotion as the rhythmic elements of the song slowly make themselves heard, revealing that the song is slightly more swift than we might have thought. Ivy’s voice brings a quickening of tempo and both the organic and artificial aspects of the track follow suit. Suddenly a fully formed drum sequence speeds out of the crash of a cymbal. Ivy’s lyrics centre us in the present, lamenting retrospectively on someone’s behaviour as well as her own in days gone by. But the triumphant atmosphere gives the song a sickly feeling of acceptance of heartbreak or sadness. The vocals reflect these feelings effortlessly. The choirs take the helm of the song once again, then Ivy’s voice brings another acceleration. The lyric ‘will I grow to hate you?’ has a germ of selfishness surrounding it, those protective reactions to heartbreak everyone feels at some point or another. But followed subsequently with ‘will i grow up?’ the listener understands the singer’s hope that these feelings are transcendental and will disappear with time. The battle between calm and collected acceptance and anger is apparent throughout, Ivy pits them against each other and the result is thoughtful.

Beautiful harps twang as a thin veneer of rain falls at the start of Breaking Point. A deep bass tone introduces us to another fast-paced wormhole of instrumentation. Graceful reverberations and echoes of synth trumpets and cartoonish lead instruments surround us. The instrumentation calms as Ivy takes centre stage. A cleansing takes place, a dismissal of a negative force. A reaffirmation of self identity, and an admission that she did not have the power to love in such an intense environment. Clattering hi-hats explode behind the vocals, these lead to an amazing jungle-esque break in the drum part. This break follows Ivy into the chorus resulting in a tumultuous reprisal.

Your Horoscope starts with warbling synth melodies plodding up and down a muffled landscape. More speedy percussion as digital hi-hats stretch and break. The bass drums patterns are infectious and transform the song into one of the more intoxicatingly rhythmic on the EP. Ivy is also at her most insightful here. ‘I know the stars never lined up’ is a beautiful reference to the title of the song. The instrumentation stays calm and collected and so too does Ivy. She delivers the vocal lines with poise and feeling.

Beautiful harps and piano give way to naive square-wave sounds in Glorify. Ivy’s voice has an obscuring effect on the melody, as it seeps into one fluid sound behind her voice. A simple, four-to-the-floor bass drum charges onward. Ivy asks ‘wasn’t I supposed to learn something?’ her sensibility washed away by love and affection. Her voice has a certain subtlety to it that gels with the nature of the instrumentation of the song. The contrast of sonic vibrancy with vocals hemmed tightly to the instrumentation makes for an engaging listen.

Fruitful begins like the lost princess/haunted mansion level of an old video game. The vocals imbue some narrative pathway upon the melody. Ivy strives to realise the optimistic title and hoped-for message of the song through reminiscence and regret. Deep, almost religious choirs can be heard through the undergrowth at points, a testament to the thoughtful composition. Ivy reels off an infectious refrain conveying that both her brain and heart broke at the same time. A reference to what seems to be a deeply-set theme in the EP. The emotive triumphing over the logical, and the fallout that comes with that.

Ivy leaves us on the title track Dear Deathwaters. Undeniably beautiful strings play her in. She laments of someone who ‘left the earth’ a sentiment that chimes with the epic instrumentation that begun the song. Rattling drum loops are injected behind her once again, leading into a heavy-set bass drum hammering against the melody. It seems to galvanise the keys underneath charging them with a fuzzy electricity. Hiding somewhere between hyper-EDM and donk music, Ivy repeats the title of the track. The bass drum relents, and the instrumentation flies cautiously alongside her as she promises ‘I’ll see you again, it really isn’t the end’. As a listener, it’s hard not to hope that she is communicating to those hearing her music.

In her debut EP Ivy gives us an vulnerable performance in a unique and wholly original sonic setting. Spurred on by the beauty of the melodies, she opens up to the listener creating a beautiful and expressive character for herself. She has the strength to be versatile, and this nothing but exciting for projects to come.

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