Holy Hive’s “Hypnosis” has the naive, dreamy qualities of classic lowrider soul, the post-doo-wop sound that is particularly prized on the West Coast. A lot of that feel stems from singer Paul Spring, whose high, guileless voice comes in swirls and artful smears; he would have fit well in an early Sixties vocal quartet, wailing about teen heartbreak and holding down the top end of the harmonies.
The band behind Spring conjures restrained funk — a liquid guitar lead, snappy playing on a drum-kit softened by sputtering hand percussion. The key addition to the “Hypnosis” arrangement is the carnival-ride synthesizer. Sometimes it tumbles playfully during long, descending runs, amplifying Spring’s misty melodic wanderings; sometimes it adds simple baroque accents; it’s welcome in both modes.
Holy Hive is a trio featuring Spring, drummer Homer Steinweiss, and bassist Joe Harrison. Steinweiss first earned notice drumming in Sharon Jones’ Dap Kings before establishing an impressive career as an in-demand session player — contributing to albums by Al Green, Amy Winehouse, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga and more — even as the economy for session players has largely collapsed.
“Hypnosis” was originally released as a single last fall. It resurfaced on Holy Hive’s aptly named debut album, Float Back to You, at the end of May.
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