Bringing together tight guitar work with twinges of electronica and a folk-rock undertone, Christina Ward has a sound that is difficult to define. A small fish in a large pond, Ward does not have much to her name; in fact, Rent is her debut EP. Yet, while she lacks coverage in her solo project, the talented songstress has received some acknowledgement of her releases featured on News Break and iHeart Radio. Compiling ethereal soundscapes, intimate lyricism and haunting melodies, we are honoured to review this debut EP from new-comer Christina Ward.
Penned and recorded during the Covid-19 lockdown, Rent is an introspective labour of love representing Ward’s tales of quarantine. As with many artists, creativity took control during these past months and Rent is one of the more interesting results. Traversing a range of genres from synth-filled dream-pop to acoustic-inspired folk-rock, Ward showcases her versatility and innovativeness as an artist in this release.
So, where do we begin? It is best to begin at the beginning and stop at the end. Rent opens with the flowing ballad ‘Ghost’ instantly creating a sense of otherworldliness in the haunting ambience. Using the intimacy of Jodi Mitchell with the obscurity of Billie Eilish, Ward takes you on an eclectic experience in ‘Ghost’ which is quickly followed by the synth-filled shoegaze track ‘Rent’. This ethereal sound carries you through ‘Nightmare’ to the final ‘Wake Up’.
While Ward’s melancholic lyricism showcases the depth of her “homemade collection of songs coloured by social distancing and reincarnation”, it is the execution that makes Rent memorable. Using a hushed vocal performance, Ward elegantly and effortlessly shares her personal narrative with the listener. What I find intriguing is how the softer, soothing tones have low-key robustness enhancing the poignancy and richness of the EP.
Each single has an individuality to sonically represent Christina Ward’s personality, so it is difficult to choose a favourite from the pack. If I were to opt for a preferred song, I would more than likely choose ‘Wake Up’. The acoustic-inspired single is filled with honesty, genuineness and heartfelt tenderness reminiscent of Amanda Palmer and Joan Baez. I cannot wait for more from this talented US-based singer.