Hilary Woods – Colt – Album Review by Cathy Brown
Hilary Woods has been making music since her school days as part of Dublin indie rock band JJ72. They split in 2006 meaning that it has been a long wait for Woods’ first solo full length album, but on Colt, she proves that the wait has been worth it.
Colt comes with an overarching narrative of lost loves and damaged relationships. Woods says it was created as ‘a means to speak with inner voices, explore aloneness, and understand the complexities of desire.’
Co-produced by James Kelly, who played with metal band Altar of Plagues, Colt is infused with a dark celestial atmosphere that feels much more complete than a debut album should.
Like her label mate Marissa Nadler, Woods doesn’t need much sonic support to make an impact. Her ethereal vocals hover above soft piano and carefully arranged strings, with the sparest of electronic beats adding to the restrained, atmospheric sound.
Inhaler, the first release from the album, would sit well on a David Lynch soundtrack. Lyrically expressing the desolation of a lost love, the warm fluidity of the music lightens the darkness of the emotions on display. Prodigal Dog is a delicate piano based song which showcases that calm intensity that is the backbone of the whole album.
On Black Rainbow, the ethereal strings and twinkling piano merge easily with the electronic beats creating a space within which emotional connection is made. The music carefully and cleverly straddles both an acoustic and electronic sound, and Jesus Said, the most beat-laden song on the album, adds a dark edge to the beauty at work here.
There are no tracks jostling for attention on Colt, rather Woods creates a comforting world of layered piano, synths, string and voice that needs to be felt as well as heard. Her music is both other-worldly and distinctly human, cathartic and enveloping. Like Grouper or Julia Holter, she is a gifted creator of mood, taking the personal and making it a communal experience.
On the basis of this powerful debut, it will be exciting to see where Hilary Woods goes next.
Track List –
1. Inhaler 05:13
2. Prodigal Dog 04:58
3. Take Him In
5. Jesus Said
7. Black Rainbow 04:14