There is a lot going on, and going for, this record. Redwoods is a 4-piece '90s-styled screamo outfit from Southern California. Veronika Reinert (Paris Hilton on Fire, but most known for her camera prowess as Motionscape Photography) on vocals, Adrian Ayala (Laura Dern, Counsil) on guitar, Brandon Brunt (Paris Hilton on Fire) on drums, and Randall Avilez (Heritage Unit, Riposte) on guitar.
I’ll start with what I truly like about this record.
Although thoroughly cohesive, each track differs with its siblings enough that I could easily do a track-by-track review. This keeps the listener’s attention to the end. These songs are well-thought-out.
The guitars duel in a most creative manner. At times, Adrian and Randall could be playing two different songs, orchestrated to line up perfectly. The drums are surgically precise yet almost minimalist. The vocals have presence and fill the songs with poetic lyrics one can read like a haiku.
The influences are unknown to me. However, some parts sound like Gang of Four played at the wrong speed. There are also some Greg Ginn-like guitar parts, but without sounding improv. At times, one is reminded of the pretty parts of the ...And Justice for All LP.
Spread over the top is an undeniable California sound, reminiscent of those bands you would see around in the mid-to-late 2000s. You know the ones where the kids didn’t mosh; they instead crossed their arms over their chest and rocked back and forth?
The standout track, for me, is “Dead Dogs, Lost Loves”. This one checks all my boxes.
My one real note on what raises an eyebrow for me: it is missing a bass player and in turn the low end we are all used to. Although, If it had a bass player, it would sound more predictable. With a bass, I might well have said on the first song “oh, I know exactly how this whole thing is going to go” and shut it off. This would have been a foolish maneuver, because the EP really breaks out starting at track 4.
That being said, I know plenty of folks who will write this record off on the grounds of being sans a bass player, without hearing it. With all that being said, Redwoods have made it known that they would like a bass player.
This EP is a self-release and can be heard in its entirity on their bandcamp page. I would imagine that before too long, some intelligent label will put it out on vinyl.
Veronika and I have been friends for a few years. I recommend you look up her photography if you are unfamiliar. All the players are well active in the LA/OC scene. Please, give them a listen and show some support. One of these days, you will be able to see them live again.
- Bandcamp (Digital)