Vera by Night Hikes

Vera is a persona we created to reflect the commodification of the “wild-woman” archetype. Vera exists only in how she comes across, and it is impossible for anyone, including her, to tell who she is as a person. She is beautiful and carefree. She walks barefoot and loses herself in the pulsing crowd at music festivals, but she is curated. She is wistful to a fault, choosing happy slogans over a real, authentic understanding of the world around her and the work it takes to make it a better place. 

The instrumentation illustrates the dichotomy between the groundedness Vera exudes in photos and the listlessness she carries in reality. The forceful beat and edgy, distorted guitar hold the song to a steady pulse, while the vocals feel like they are emerging from a dream sequence. The final sparkling synths wrap the end of the song in a psychedelic haze of ambivalence for the outside world.

Olivia Godby and Matthew Farrell were once kicked out of a chapel at the University of Notre Dame for recording a music video instead of praying. Unfazed by the rigid campus attitudes, the two took Night Hikes to the blossoming local scene to develop their sound. In their pensive songwriting, they immediately prioritized balance, not only between dark synth and glimmering guitar, but also between Godby’s imaginative storytelling and Farrell’s keen ear for melodies and production. After finishing school in 2016, they rented a house and spent the summer recording their first release, The Blue Hour, which was mixed by New York based engineer Rusty Santos (Animal Collective, Beach House).

The band then moved to Seattle to focus on refining their songwriting in 2018. On the resulting record, Chalice, the pair strive to recover the long silenced feminine principle, refusing to accept that violent power dynamics are inherent to human nature. Godby and Farrell each float seamlessly between guitar, keys, and vocals amidst the ghostly natural reverb of the old Catholic church in which they recorded, this time with permission. Lush guitars reminiscent of Slowdive find their counterpart in bellowing synth and organ melodies. Over carefully crafted and sampled drums, the pair create space for their intimate, introverted vocals, making for a record that delivers as much rainy-day shoegaze as beachy dream pop.

On stage, the two alternate lead vocals, eager to display the dynamic partnership that is so integral to their songwriting. Godby and Farrell often switch instruments mid set, like two best friends quietly exchanging a secret. Following a string of summer shows in Seattle, the band is planning a West Coast tour for the fall to promote Chalice.

About IMR

Independent Music Reviews is a music blog that contains album reviews, music news, new releases, just released singles and videos.  We attempt to review most of the albums on the site, and are always looking for your feedback on the albums we review.  Don’t let it be said that we are trying to be especially special, just honest and somewhat available.


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