It feels as though a lot is riding on Redwood to really deliver with their new EP. Taking up the role of buzz band is a thankless task at the best of times, but in a genre like emo which seemingly rotates its fan favourites out on a monthly basis, Redwood have their work cut out for them when it comes to making an impression. Still, there’s more faith in them than with many, given how their tightly-integrated math-rock and post-rock influences have seen their name doing the rounds for a while now, and Lay Your Love Down stands as the perfect opportunity to properly show what they can do.
And thankfully, this is exactly the jump-off that Redwood need to take them much further. For as much as Lay Your Love Down still feels slightly burdened by the shakiness of a new band finding their feet, that’s effortlessly overshadowed by the scope and work that’s clearly gone into making these five tracks sound as regal and enormous as possible. It’s a case of that clear post-rock accompaniment working with the alt-rock framework instead of against it; the likes of Mother and especially Magnolia remain poised and delicate in their airy atmosphere, but it’s never something that floats away on its own like so much post-rock can, and being grounded to something clearer and more stable is incredibly beneficial.
Of course, it helps that Redwood can construct a poignant, beautifully recognised melody with little hassle, and even if Yellowstone does veer away from this a bit more than would be preferable as pretty much a glorified outro, the rest of Lay Your Love Down shines. The most obvious place is in Denaline with its spidery math-rock guitar cutting through the walls of reverb to brilliant effect, but the fluidity that’s really across the board is indicative of a band who know the best way to make their vision work. And with Alex Birchall’s suitably ethereal vocals that come packed with yet another layer of passion, the best moments on this EP are truly able to distract from its shortcomings.
And even then, they aren’t plentiful, more a case of refinement and tightening what’s already here than anything major. It’s certainly easy to see why Redwood have been getting the praise they have, considering that they’ve already captured a rich, distinct sound for themselves that can easily fit into modern emo and Britrock scenes while maintaining its identity. For what is ostensibly a new band, that’s about as strong a start as you can hope for, and Lay Your Love Down doesn’t seem to be the limit of Redwood’s abilities either. Expect much bigger things to come.
For fans of: Black Foxxes, Wallflower, Coast To Coast
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Lay Your Love Down’ by Redwood is released on 5th October on Failure By Design Records.