Written by Hero Magnus
HOFFEY is an up-and-coming electro-pop duo from Vancouver, Canada, composed of Jordan and Erika Toohey. The two met while studying music in Australia, started playing together, fell in love, and got married. (Which came first? Music or marriage? Chicken or egg? I’m not sure).
In their newest single, “Alive,” the band establishes a creative, understated sound and a talent for lyrical hooks. HOFFEY is very open about their relationship, so I’m excited to see how their romantic couplehood continues to impact their creative couplehood.
“I’ve been drinking on my own / just thinking of you,” sings Jordan in the first verse. His voice is surprisingly rich and reminds me of Khalid. Immediately, he’s paired with synth-like, spacey production without much bass. At the beginning, his voice takes up the low end of the song, which is very musically interesting. “Do you want me like I want you?” he continues.
When Jordan enters the chorus with, “I know we won’t regret it / cause when we get it / yeah, we come alive…” the lyric fits the ocean-wave production, and the repetition of the word “alive” feels refreshing. “We come alive” is a great line to describe why someone might stay in a relationship that feels uncertain; sometimes it’s bad, but in certain moments, it feels like you’re breathing. The two people in the song have a connection that isn’t going to change or be broken. The high of the relationship transcends the difficulty.
In 2018, HOFFEY released two tracks, a ninety-second instrumental “Prelude” to show off their emphasis on making beats, and their first single, “Love is Wild.” I love all of their titles so far. I’d love to know what HOFFEY, the name of their band, means… let me know, will you, Jordan and Erika? Their lyrical strength is in short, catchy turns of phrase, hooks, and single words. I’m excited to listen to their EP coming out in the fall to see if their talent for song titles continues.
In the second verse, Erika’s classic, sweet-pop vocals enter unobscured. The contrast between their voices is nice. When she starts singing, “I don’t want to waste another minute cause I’m finally living…” it reminds me of a traditional back-and-forth love ballad, à la former lovers, Alex & Sierra’s sugary “Little Do You Know.” It’s cool to see contrasting couple voices in a more chill, electronic musical context.
The song is a collection of pieces that are all just unexpected enough for it to be interesting.
There is a very well-placed collection of background sounds. Water droplets echo throughout the song, and when Erika sings “I feel like I’m breathing underwater,” in the second verse it feels perfectly coherent.
“Alive” also includes repeated samples of snapping and the same sharp intake of breath. It somehow adds flair and sexiness, and helps to build a song that’s not too lush, but still atmospheric.
HOFFEY is a duo with potential: understated lyrical hooks, chill electronic production, good voices and publicly-announced true love.