Saturday, April 03, 2021

Ead Woods raises the alarm with 'Environment'

Ead Woods' ‘Environmental’ is at once playful and sombre as it addresses the individual, subjective level of anxiety in an age that is fraught with the reality of climate catastrophes, which are increasingly hard to ignore. 

The track channels Courtney Barnett by taking on an ironic tone to address the absurdity of everyday life in an age hurtling towards the worst part of global climate catastrophe. Just as Barnett adopts sarcasm as a medium to describe life with depression, which has her fans happily belting out heartfelt songs about the hilarity in suffering; the tracks deliberate wryness in tone is made very clear when the vocalist sings about his anxiety of becoming “environmentally mental”, in an undeniably catchy earworm of a tune - which could easily be a crowd-pleaser at a live show. 

Opening with screeching, breathless guitars, the vocalist sings in a mocking wistfulness, “these days are making me ill”. The up-tempo drums and lingering acoustic guitars remain constantly charged, while the chorus – in which Ed Soles describes what is at the heart of his worries – lands on its feet effortlessly. One can’t help but sing along with him, whilst also acknowledging how every one of us carries this anxiety.

The spirit of the track seems to be reminiscent of The Beach Boys’ track, ‘I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times’. In the chorus of the track, The Beach Boys harmonize over the heartbreakingly pointed line, “Sometimes, I feel, very sad”, whilst the song continues in a wholesome, light-footed way. That said, the track is pointed and amiable in its lyrical observations. As the song progresses, it does not seem as if Ead Woods has hopped onto the bandwagon of a sonic gimmick, as they declare, “I feel sick!”. The moments of sincerity are apparent in their deliberation, which has clearly stuck with them for a long time. The chorus repeats until the song slows down, turning into a chant, whilst slowly leaving us in silence – after all, there is an important message that we need to sit with.


While The Beach Boys’ song is a classic example of how the mood of lyrics and the sound of a song can be polar opposites, artists such as Barnett have operationalised this trick into a unique millennial hybrid of ironic social commentary with vulnerable, personal confession. ‘Environmental’ is a fascinating example of Ed Soles allowing neither sounds nor lyrics to totally supplant the other, producing a charming and honest track. Although, it simultaneously serves as a sharp reminder of a grim real-world event that affects us all and is sincere in its attempt to elaborate from the perspective of an everyday individual. The track is charming, humble and fits well within Ead Woods’ equally charming and wholesome repertoire; ‘Environmental’ is timely in more ways than one. 


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