Wood ear is a term that refers to two edible fungi used in Chinese cuisine. Wood Ear is also a Durham rock band that is about to release Electric Alone , its third release in eight years. The band, led by Nate Tarr’s songwriting, is defined by dark undertones and distorted folk rock. The four track EP keeps this Southern sound while pushing into new grounds founded on a punk core.
The opening song, “Pack of Cards,” sets the EP on its course with dark lyrics and arpeggiated chords. It also begins the EP's narrative with an awakening. “Shake It Off” follows with a more distorted guitar riff and a slightly cerebral breakdown but maintains continuity with dream-like keyboard backing. The narrator seems to find comfort with his awakening in the first track. He wants to “shake it off” and “release.”
Electric Alone shifts in a darker direction with “A Kind Tongue,” a song with surfer riffs, intertwining guitar and gloomy, lonesome lyrics. The aptly named final track, “New Energy,” is void of the pain present in the other songs and the narrator lifts the weight off his shoulders. The song is twangy, but with post-punk influenced breakdowns.
Six years lapsed between Wood Ear’s first and second releases, but Electric Alone, arriving only two years after Steeple Vultures confirms the band is now creating music at a higher frequency and evolving.
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