Woodes (also known as Elle Graham) is an alternative pop singer/songwriter, producer and composer from Australia. She released her first solo single in 2016, titled Daggers and Knives, as well as her self-titled debut EP and has been unstoppable since. 6 years, two albums and two more EP's later, she has released her 4th official EP, Hibernation. It's her second EP of the year, the first one being Kingdom Come which was released earlier this year. While Kingdom Come had an aesthetic that was more bright and whimsical, Hibernation is more dark and dramatic. It features four cinematic tracks that we are going to deep dive into.
Don't Look Back
As I mentioned before, Hibernation has a more immersive and darker theme than previous works by Woodes. It represents strength and power; the ability to rise from the ashes. Imagine this EP as a hypothetical movie soundtrack, where a female warrior is coming out of hiding to lead her people to victory against an unruly enemy (and she wins of course). The style stays true to Woodes modern alternative pop sound, but with a bit of a folk influence and intricate cinematic production. This EP will take you on a complex audio journey that'll keep you on your toes up until the very end.
Acting as the opening track and the inspiration for the title of the EP, Hibernate is a song about coming out of the darkness and getting back to doing the things you love. It was written about what it felt like as the world started to wake up again after being in lockdown for so long. A lot of us lost ourselves during that time, but you can't just stay asleep forever. Many of us feel like we've wasted years that we can never get back, which makes up take on more than we can even handle. This is a reminder to slow down; you're not alone. It has a slow build of synths, percussion and horns that give you a gentle introduction into the complex sound of the rest of the EP. "The calm before the storm", in our hypothetical movie if you will. It has a very dreamy, beautiful melody that represents what it feels like to wake up to a glowing warm sun.
Don't Look Back
Taking a large, dynamically loud step away from the first track comes Don't Look Back. It's always been a dream for Woodes to have one of her songs featured in an action film or video game. The complex soundscape of Don't Look Back was written with this dream in mind while Woodes played action movies on repeat in the background for inspiration. Her goal was to achieve the epic and cinematic soundscape that would be played during a highly energetic battle or action-packed scene, and she achieved exactly that. Upon my first listen of Don't Look Back, I was saying to myself, "this sounds tribal; and almost like a Celtic war song but modernized". It would absolutely be perfect for a period piece; like a movie that takes place in the Middle Ages with dragons and enemies. The production on this track is out of this world. If you love powerful songs, this one is for you.
Staying on the action-packed and energic vibe comes War Cry. Written as an anthem for women and female empowerment, War Cry is also a reminder to men that we are stronger than they think. Men think that they can get away with anything and everything. They like to portray women as weak and act like we need them to survive; when really, it's the complete opposite. The song has loud, heavy production that gives off those "I am a warrior" feelings; but the bridge is a place of softness. It's almost magical; spiritual, actually. It's a soundscape that it too good for this world, and it definitely made me a bit emotional. One of my favorite parts in the entire song are what I assume to be the "war cries", which are the angelic soprano embellishments echoing in the background.
The last track of the EP is Heavenly, and it sounds exactly as it's named. Consider it the "cool down" period after experiencing the energy of the last two songs. Components of this song actually started out as the bridge for War Cry, but the sound was just so lovely that Woodes decided to pull it out and make it it's own song. Which, in my opinion, was a genius move because War Cry has a new bridge that is also stunning and now we have a whole other song that holds that same angelic feeling! Imagine this song as the outro to our hypothetical movie soundtrack, where the narrator sits alone with a lute and finishes off the story with one final heart-grasping tune. This is how Woodes intended for Heavenly to sound, and she did it flawlessly.
Woodes had a vision, and she completely nailed bringing it to life. Every detail in this EP was perfectly crafted into a sophisticated and empowering collection of songs. Listening to Hibernation really does give you the same euphoric feeling as watching a good action movie; starting with a soft intro, moving on to the high-energy fight, and then ending with victory and peace. If you loved Hibernation, make sure to also listen to Woodes' other EP released this year, Kingdom Come which is described as having spellbinding, hypnotic melodies that focuses more on the personal experiences of Elle Graham. Woodes is always performing and touring around Australia, so make sure to check out her show dates on her website as well!
Written By Kaitlyn Nicole
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