Levelling encapsulates the tidal force of time and how we change with each passing wave. Split into three parts, Havvk’s sophomore offering portrays life itself, our first steps, our expectations and how the choices we make impact who we are. Conceptually ambitious, the record’s succinct scope and focus ground the themes in a sound that bristles with uneasy angular edges, where nothing is certain.
Opening with the slow-motion brooding of ‘Tides’, Havvk rattle and distort against the very edges of the album’s production. Undulating throughout, the song dynamically contorts, a characteristic that forms the backbone of Levelling and the band themselves. Moving to the widening alt-rock scale of ‘Home’, the contemplative nature of the album takes shape as Havvk traverse the thematic thread with lines like, “If you focus on the surface, count the stitches, it seems perfect, but it pulls apart”.
Havvk’s ability to create a sense of scale also comes to the fore. Levelling rises and falls dynamically, mirroring the turbulent emotive pathways of life. Within each song, such as ‘Easy’, there are defined passages of restraint and release. While the album’s overarching ebb and flow are determined by the jolting ‘Halfway Out’ and acoustic reflective respite of ‘Machines’. All delivered with an undercurrent of tense unease that feeds back thematically.
This is best captured in the growling back and forth of ‘No Patience’. Twisting and turning throughout, Havvk build the tension only to losen their grip before rebuilding a brooding sense of foreboding once again. Melding the band’s powerful alt-rock sound with equally striking lines like, “I’m thinking of the words that my mother said before I ruin a life, and there’s nothing left. And I’m stuck here chasing the same old themes, but habits were made to be broke and be broken”.
And so it goes, Levelling is a courageous album in many respects. Courage in concept, courage in expression, and courage in execution. Sharp in sound and meaning, Havvk’s sophomore builds on the first by not being afraid to know when to get loud and when to pull back. Resulting in a record that is thematically and sonically one.