Swedish band Woods End has been fusing their musical inspiration into songs since 2012. Their debut album was released in 2014 and has been dubbed “a subtle masterpiece of the genre”. The band is made up of friends Mats (lead vocals, electric guitar), Nils (backing vocals, acoustic guitar, piano, banjo), Dawda (bass guitar) and Karl (drums, backing vocals).
Woods End combines the musical influences of Wovenhead, Christian Kjellvander and Fleet Foxes with the natural influence of the Swedish north. Their music brings forth the stories of long nights and where the woods meet the shore. Their new EP Rowan Road continues to bring this imagery to life.
The EP starts with the title track ‘Rowan Road’. This song grabs you from the opening with the strong instrumentals. Mats’ vocals come in with a haunting tone that sets the feeling for the track and EP. ‘Rowan Road’ tells the story of how a relation can be the source of isolation. The combination of skilful writing, vocals and instruments send goosebumps down your arms.
The second track ‘Mire’ has a more upbeat start, but similarly haunting undertone. The music sets up the lyrics and the picture they paint. You can almost feel the cold and wet woods around you with this song. The changes in the melody of the song add to the shivers it sends down your spine.
‘Pickaxe’ starts softly with gentle vocals that make you listen to the lyrics and the tale they tell. The music of this song has a more longing note to it. The harmonizing of vocals highlights this while adding a sad tone to the track. While haunting in its own way, this track is more melancholy than the others.
The fourth track ‘Waves’ opens with crashing instrumentals reminiscent of waves hitting the shore. As with the other tracks, music and lyrics paint a clear picture, this time of an ominous sea by the woods. ‘Waves’ is amazing to listen to and makes use of everything the band has to offer from strong vocals to guitars and pianos that bring the water to life.
The last track on Rowan Road is ‘Missing Piece’ which has an almost wistful opening. This tone flows through the rest of the track and is only enhanced by the vocals and lyrics. The words of this track draw you in and carry the message detailed in ‘Rowan Road’ to an end. It is the perfect track to finish the EP and leaves you feeling satisfied with everything the EP offered.
‘Rowan Road’ is an excellent EP from Woods End and really highlights the inspirations of their music. It is a haunting journey from the first notes to the end refrain. Listening to this EP makes me excited to hear the album the band is currently working on.