In his latest single and music video, titled “Can You Take It?,” rock singer/songwriter Greg Hoy is getting fast and loose with the foundations of his sound but hardly abandoning the ethic that has brought his career this far. Exploring the electrifyingly warm tube melodicism of a classic rock sound for the benefit of making a millennial-style punk rhythm sound even more complicated and emotionally-charged than it already would have, Hoy is cooking with gas like few others in his scene are this December, and “Can You Take It?” is perhaps one of the best measurements of his creative growth as a solo artist yet.
The muddy guitar parts are always the centerpiece of this song, and they immediately create the sort of distinction between Hoy’s sound and that of the general FM dial you won’t be able to turn back from. He isn’t even remotely interested in trying to wear someone else’s look here – there’s just so much of a crunch to the strings and an angst to his lead vocal that I’m always focused on his tonal presence over anything else here. This isn’t to discount the lyrics to this track, but instead to point out just how little they matter comparative to the star’s effective delivery.
As we find the main harmony in the chorus of “Can You Take It?,” we’re forced to realize that it isn’t as much of a pop hybrid as it might have seemed like it could be at a distance – if anything, it’s actually born of the punk rock aesthetic. Simplicity is, after all, one of the more important cornerstones in the blueprint of the latter over the former, and as it’s been employed for this piece, I think it’s safe to say that the last thing on Hoy’s mind was creating something deliberately radio-ready here.
The bass and drum components of this single are easily the most understated of any in the master mix, but this isn’t to say that the groove is somehow unmuscular because of the lighter bottom-end. On the contrary, Hoy is really exploiting their placement in the stack of elements as a means of making the song feel incredibly pressurized and unexpectedly insular as we near its conclusion, both of which are attributes that a lot of other acts have tried to incorporate into their sound lately (mostly with little success in their own right).
I always expect something sterling out of the Greg Hoy discography whenever I visit it, but in the case of this most recent offering from the critically-acclaimed singer/songwriter, I think he’s hit the nail on the head a bit more accurately than even his most diehard of fans will be anticipating. He’s getting so lean and mean with his approach to the recording process, and yet he isn’t having to sacrifice anything within his sound to get to this new and improved state of creativity, I’m impressed, and I’ll definitely be sticking around to hear what he comes up with next.