Haniwa is a five-piece “indie power pop” band from Oklahoma City that has been welling with promise since its 2014 self-titled debut. It’s been a long three years for the group, but after production setbacks, lineup changes, and an overall evolution in sound, Haniwa is finally ready to fulfill that potential.
“Absolutely” is the new single from the quintet, and it’s a teaser for a new album releasing August 18th called Violent Sun. The song is full of atmospheric guitar work, resonant lyrics, and the band’s trademark dual lead vocals.
Dive in to the dreamy lead single, which can be streamed below in a Cellar Door Music Group exclusive first listen:
Instrumentally, “Absolutely” is more organic than the synth-fueled rhythms of Haniwa’s debut record. The production, in turn, is more lush and intoxicating than its 2016 rock-fueled stopgap EP, Ennui Volts. In addition to its improvements, “Absolutely” comes with a few surprises, particularly an occasional 9/4 meter and big instrumental passages that feature what sounds like a glockenspiel. Altogether, the recording is the culmination of many of Haniwa’s unique traits paired with new ones and spun into a remarkably accessible modern indie pop sound that’s sure to please.
While it gives some idea of the new LP’s more atmospheric feel, “Absolutely” also offers some insight as to the running themes of Violent Sun. The band has publicly described the album title as a paradoxical metaphor for love, an unstable force that burns with the potential to give life as well as destroy it. In that context, the lyrics of “Absolutely” are especially poignant when one recognizes that they are delivered in the past tense. The titular chorus says, “I would have given you anything / Absolutely, absolutely / You told me to slow it down / But I would never listen, no”. Note also how the lines essentially contradict each other, much like the album’s central concept.
Haniwa has dealt with big, emotional ideas before, but on “Absolutely”, the music more than matches this, especially in its grand third verse. The overlapping male/female lead vocals counterpoint each other for a vibrant, imagery-filled moment before finding harmony in one another, building to a powerfully delivered closing line, “You and I absolutely”. It’s a beautiful arrangement that is fittingly bittersweet, at once clamoring for an emotional truth while knowing its ultimate fragility.
This article was originally written for Cellar Door Music Group (cellardoormusicgroup.com). It is archived here with the publisher’s permission.