England’s Redwood is composed of front man Alex Birchall (lead vocals/guitar), guitarist-vocalists Charlie Parrot and Jamie Richards, bassist-vocalist Conor Bond, and drummer Tomy Fassioms. The Herefordshire quintet may have only been together a few years, but their sound says otherwise. Releasing their debut full-length ‘Rain’ in mid-2015, the band showcases an ambitious multi-layered guitar wall, topped with emotive vocals and nuanced ambience. In December of last year, their acoustic EP, ‘Fell in Love with a Daydream,’ marked a stripped down, yet equally poignant transition.
The band’s latest EP, ‘Blood Moon,’ was self-released last October. While sticking to an open reverb foundation, they figure out a precise balance of guitars and ambient synth textures. One noticeable improvement lies in the presence of Birchall’s vocals. They sit better within the mix, while maintaining clarity and distinction throughout the EP. Also prominent, in the widest sense, is the shifting toward a greater emphasized post-rock direction. There seems to be more lenience in implementing softer guitar and percussive dynamics, which, in turn, benefits the EP’s general presentation.
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Opening on the titular track, the buildup feels rather faint before emitting a bittersweet chord sequence. Birchall’s narrative is particularly nostalgic, looking back on the intense anxiety from emotional distance. A deep bass line paces the track, coupled with vapor-like pads that comprise the extent of its atmosphere. Next up is ‘Yellow Light,’ an older track making its first appearance in studio form. The mid-tempo instrumentation is a comfortable fit, each sequence complementing Birchall’s vocal tonality. When the chorus hits, Birchall and company sing with a distinction that alludes to the debut album. It continues on an anxious note, expressing fear of regressing to an infatuated state. Subsequent tracks ‘Equinox’ and ‘Winter, the First’ emphasize shifting tempo perspectives, the heavier moments feeling especially impactful. At the same time, a combined state of morose and numbness defines the mood for this section. Conversely, the closer and carrier single, ‘Haunted,’ feels slightly uplifting in its direction. Birchall’s nostalgic mind frame puts all five tracks in perspective, the band caps the EP with a top-tier, succinct performance.
Overall, Blood Moon is an undoubtedly focused sonic and thematic expansion of Redwood’s identity. Despite the EP’s short length, it packs quite the melodic, reverberated punch in a single, concise product. The lunar theme is ultimately engaging, and can potentially transition effectively onto future releases.