[24 September 2001]
Woven is probably an appropriate name for this band. It does, indeed, weave together a few different styles of music to create something that is almost organic electronica. Using live instruments to construct loops and atmospheric sounds, Woven seems on the brink of discovering a new style. It’s just a shame that Woven’s music isn’t as exciting as it could be. EPrime is too mellow to be breaking much new ground.
“Beautiful” opens this EP and sets the mood for the rest of the songs, with its trip-hop beat and swirling guitars. The soulful vocals of Jonathan Burkes brings the song closer to modern rock territory without ever crossing over into it. “Tesion” picks up the pace a bit, with darker sounds and a heavier beat. Unfortunately, “Tesion” isn’t quite the song it could be, with the attitude coming across as forced, although the song ends before it wears itself out. “Steady” is the only song on the EP that feels wholly original, with its hypnotic background and sped-up drumming mixed with ascending synthesizers. It is, sadly, the shortest song on the EPrime, at only a bit over two minutes, and the one song listeners will want to hear the more of.
“Who Knows” is the most straightforward song, with a built-in radio-friendliness that defies the electronic elements of the song. The chorus of “Who knows what is going to happen” is easy and approachable, and the gentleness of the track as a whole makes maddeningly agreeable. In some ways, “Who Knows” best showcases Woven as a band, revealing the band’s strengths, but also its failings. Woven is trying hard, but it also is missing something.
The last official song is the haunting “Solder Me”, built around a twisty background of electronics, throbbing drums, and guitars played with layers of feedback. Burkes cries out “It’s all right, it’s over” repeatedly, complimenting the heartbroken tone of the song. Concluding EPrime is a nameless, hidden track than runs for about 10 minutes, with nature sounds as well as long extended periods of making more or less noise with various instruments. This final song has no real structure or purpose, and may have been interesting for the band to create, but for listeners, it leaves a poor final impression of Woven and EPrime as a whole. Since listeners would either have to listen to about 20 minutes worth of silence or fast-forward to the point where the song begins, it might as well just be skipped.
Woven gives the impression that it should’ve been a better band. Lacking the glamour of the trip-hop genre it borrows from while not quite having the ability to create ordered experiments in sound, Woven is neither here nor there in terms of what it seems like it was trying to do with EPrime. Truthfully, Woven’s music is elegant and understated, and is still pleasant to listen to, but EPrime isn’t satisfying. When it ends, you wonder why you didn’t like it more. No, it’s not bad music, but that, unfortunately doesn’t save Woven.
Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/woven-eprime/