Artist Spotlight

Review: Jen Wood, “Wilderness”

No Comments 5 October 2014

Review: Jen Wood, “Wilderness”

“Jen Wood is pushing herself as an artist from a new musical place and out of that vulnerability and risk she has emerged with her most ambitious and fully realized work yet. Wilderness is a relatable, entrancing and empowering piece of musical perfection.”

Artist: Jen Wood

Album: Wilderness

Genre: Pop / Rock

RIYL: St. Vincent, Jenny Lewis, Emily Haines, Low

Jen Wood Wilderness

Seattle’s Jen Wood is going for it. The release of Wilderness marks a definite departure for the musician in tone and texture. Primarily a guitar-based songwriter until now, this album stems from a different place altogether: a combination of piano/synth and refreshingly intricate rhythms and beats. It’s a sweeping, emotional and bold record that finds Wood in a place of fierce connections and haunting vulnerability.

You may already know Wood for her collaborative work with The Postal Service, but hers is a career that spans more than two decades. In some ways, it feels like we’re hearing her true voice for the first time with this record. Wilderness opens strongly with the emotionally resonant “Fell in Love.” The tone is set both lyrically and musically; the clear themes of disillusionment, tension and disappointed expectations emphasized with the plaintive quality of Wood’s vocals and an incessant undercurrent of percussion and piano hits.

“Where Real Love Is” marks the first wow moment on the record, and while the tone is calming it lives in that moment before the storm hits. Vocally, it’s a wonderfully nuanced performance; but lyrically, it’s powerful and pointed: “I will not fall into your trap / like an animal waiting to be killed.” But this kind of vibrant imagery can be found in special moments throughout the album. “Mind Wars (Red Shoes)” makes another strong impression, a swirling and passionately performed piece that pleas for justice and humanity. “Believe Me” is another direct line to Wood’s seemingly unending emotional reservoir with a gorgeous, simple vocal performance that stands out on a strong record.

Wilderness is an album of emergence; it lives in this ethereal, haunting realm we all find ourselves in at some point in our lives. But its about coming out on the other side of that experience and awakening in the midst of that and finding your way out of the wilderness. Jen Wood is pushing herself as an artist from a new musical place and out of that vulnerability and risk she has emerged with her most ambitious and fully realized work yet. Wilderness is a relatable, entrancing and empowering piece of musical perfection.


Jen Wood’s website: http://www.jenwood.net/

 

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