EP: Respire by Jay Wood

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From seemingly insurmountable calamity to a triumph of musical expression, we have Jay Wood’s brand-new EP, Respire. A direct to heart affair of warm folk that showcases the inspirational trip of its artist.

Based in the Western Australian town of Perth, Jay Wood is a singer and songwriter who refused to be defined by ill circumstances that threatened to limit her musical and lyrical prowess when a drunk driver had her involved in a life altering accident that left her with traumatic brain injury at 24 years old. Setting on a journey of self-discovery, Jay Wood slowly recovered and, along the journey, managed to get the hang of writing affable folk tunes that please and inspire, while maintaining a certain grace and eloquence, and the result is the Respire EP.

 

After a pair of successful singles, ‘Oh Well’ and ‘Initial Pulse’, the EP is here to prove that Jay Wood is more capable than just dropping a pair of attractive singles, because the 5 songs on the EP are equally stirring and well crafted. Starting the EP with the effervescent ‘Oh Well’, a song that capably demonstrates Joy Wood’s songwriting style and her production direction, we find a tune that’s intimate, courtesy of a roomy and tight mix, and accessible, courtesy of charming oohs and aahs, a playful ukulele part, and Wood’s witty lyrics. ‘Initial Pulse’ follows, and for the first cut’s playfulness we have bittersweet melodies and ethereal vocal pads instead. A song that showcases Wood’s genial vocal talent in a touching chorus performance of a beautifully composed melody, we are in the presence of a capable singer whose timbre works exceedingly well in the warm and roomy folk setting that she is creating for herself, a hallmark of an artist who knows exactly what makes her shine (the extended version gives us more of that chorus goodness than the radio edit).

 

‘James Dean’ features Jay Wood’s compositional prowess. Weaving an elegant atmosphere with her drop-tuned acoustic guitar and charismatic cello layers, the artist creates a sublime fusion between Led Zeppelin’s acoustic write-ups and Taylor Swift’s early folk pop wonders, leaving us with something completely unique, and completely comforting. The album’s penultimate track is the wistful ‘Hidden Face’, a song that introduces a hint of Karen Harding in Wood’s in-your-face vocal performance, while remaining wholly descriptive of Wood’s state of mind and expressive of her lyrical and musical perspectives. Defined by an explosive, non-lyrical passage that features a simply stunning vocalized part on top of heavy-handed drumming, the song’s melodies, and chords throughout remain rich with thoughtfulness and a perceived sorrowful state in this clear standout in the album.

Jay Wood’s debut EP is a triumphant statement of her recovery and strength of mind, a sublime musical journey that ends way too soon. A masterfully written and lovingly performed and produced collection of songs.