What does Andrea Ward sound like?
A freestyle mixture of alt-jazz singer-songwriter with a splash of medicine folk.
The review of Andrea Ward – Ribbon of Water
Whenever I hear Andrea Ward’s music, I am immediately reminded that her sound is built in multiple dimensions. She is a dancer and singer-songwriter that’s fascinated with water as a visual medium. All these elements are like tributaries in a stream of consciousness that forms her new EP ‘Ribbon of Water’. Alongside the six tracks are various aquatic art dance videos to complete the whole project and I’d recommend watching them as they are trippy.
As for the music itself, there isn’t a standard song structure to be found on ‘Ribbon of Water’. Instead, melodies flow in and out and are always layered with copious backing vocals. Outside of perhaps ‘Everything That Moves’ which is a bass, drum and vocal track, songs aren’t really verse/chorus/verse structured or often have immediate riffs. What the release loses in immediacy, it gains in mystery though as the slow burn draws you in to listen closer. ‘Algorithm’ purrs like a seductive warning. Soft cymbals rumble. Andrea’s voice soothes and disquiets in equal measure. The same can be said for the curious guitar and dark Spanish-tinged saudade of ‘Visiting Room’ which feels like the EPs central track. The whole piece feels wounded but with a hint of longing too.
The other aspect of the EP that marks Andrea Ward out is her use of thumb pianos and percussion to evoke water. The musicality of ‘Get Down and Swim’ is closer to psychedelic medicine music than anything alternative at times. Where she balances the two is where her individuality shines. ‘Game’ takes this idea and gives it a jazzier twist whilst ‘Awake At Night’ leans into a Linda Perhacs mystery folk style. Andrea Ward borrows a little dash of jazz, folk, art and a drum set and sits unusually poised between them all.
This isn’t a record that gives up its layers on the first listen. Unless you really like mysterious shroud music it may bounce off you as tunefully odd. Pop it on with a full moon and some low-mood lighting though and it’s an excellent accompaniment for some introspective weirdness. You just need to give it your time in order to get the most out of it. With Andrea Ward, I feel like a water spirit has risen to create music from another world. I don’t entirely get it but I find it fascinating to listen to.
Recommended track: Awake At Night
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