30 March 2011
Music is at its most exciting when risks are taken; when the artist doesn't stick to the easiest route; where something could potentially go wrong. Surely one of the main reasons that bands like Elbow, although loved by many, are disliked by arguably many more is that they take few risks, that their music is so very down the middle.
The first I heard of Ohio musician S.R. Woodward was when he emailed me a track a few months back. No introduction, barely a hello, no information on who he was, what he did, or even the name he makes music under – just a few words and the track. Although this isn’t usually the best method of ensuring your music is heard, it intrigued me, and the song even more so. With S.R. Woodward, the music definitely has that risky edge, that potential to go wrong but it comes out the other side all the better for it.
The first track I heard was ‘When The Bunny Chomps’. It’s so unusual, so random, daring, and just plain odd. There isn’t much of a song, more an artist thinking out loud, but you have to admire the risk-taking. It’s S.R. Woodward’s other material where the brilliance is revealed. Songs made by a man seemingly entirely unaware of what music everyone else in the last ten years has been making, it’s so alone in its sound and influences. Listening to it, you really wonder what SR Woodward must be like in person, but the only conclusions you can ever really reach is ‘unusual’.
S.R Woodward - Izzbeon
Songs range from the weird, jaunty, synth-laden retro pop of Girl On The Moon or Don’t Listen To Mr. Dead which sounds like they’ve come straight out of a scene on Sesame Street, to the kind of 50’s inspired acoustic tender, laziness and beauty of I Gotta Right, Three Birds and Tomorrow (Dreams Come True), to the seemingly Zappa influenced oddity of What Do I Know, and the downright psychedelic of Izzbeon.
S.R Woodward - Don't Listen To Mr. Dead
In fairness, sometimes it doesn’t work – that’s bound to happen when you take the odd risk – but when it does work, the risks really pay off: Intriguing, almost confusing at times, but sometimes utterly brilliant. Listen to stuff throughout this post, or grab a whole EP at bandcamp for free.
S.R Woodward - I Gotta Right
Bandcamp | SoundCloud | MySpace