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Woven Hand - Consider The Birds

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 23 / 10 / 2004

Woven Hand - Consider The Birds
Label: Glitterhouse Records
Format: CD


Intense and unsettling, but ultimately highly rewarding second album from Woven Hand, the sparse solo project of David Eugene Edwards, the frontman with long-serving alt. rockers 16 Horsepower

Essentially a solo project for David Eugene Edwards, the head man from 16 Horsepower, this is the second album the prolific songwriter has released under the Woven Hand banner. 16 Horsepower, it has to said, are an acquired taste and as Edwards has so much input into that band the same can be said of his ‘solo’ work. Edwards plays guitar and percussion on this album as well, of course, as taking the lead vocals and is backed by Ordy Garrison on drums, Daniel McMahon on piano and Shane Trost on bass. Even so these are sparse recordings much more so than those of 16 Horsepower. Not surprisingly there are many religious references scattered throughout these songs. Edwards is the grandson of a Nazarene preacher and his earliest memories are of following his grandfather around Colorado listening to his fire and brimstone sermons. Edwards is a complex and intense man and this shows through in his music; he inhibits another world where the rock and roll lifestyle doesn’t exist, and after his live performances he withdraws from the outside world to pray alone. Even those who only know Edwards from 16 Horsepower and are unfamiliar with his previous solo work know that any album Edwards has a hand in is not going to be a joyous affair. And this album is possibly his bleakest yet. That’s not to say that the music here is not beautiful; it is but it’s a intense and unsettling beauty. It’s obviously an album to listen to, to drift off into the world of David Eugene Edwards to rather than have as background music or getting ready to go out on a Saturday night soundtrack. But as a soundtrack to those dark, personal times when all is not well with our own little world and we need to know they are like minded souls around it works well. The main problem for a lot of people with the work of Edwards is that it’s not instant. It takes time and more than a few listens for the songs to throw up their real beauty. Unfortunately in times when music has to hit you round the head within the first few seconds to gain a second play Edwards is always only going to appeal to a cult audience. It’s a shame as he has been likened, quite rightly, to Nick Cave in the past but although vocally Edwards does have some of Cave’s traits-a similarly dark, almost spooky voice which is even more chilling on some of the songs here-Edwards really is in a place of his own with this album. It seems pointless reproducing any lyrics from the album here; they really have to be taken as a whole of each song to make any sense and stripped of even the most minimal musical backing they would lose some of their intensity. Thankfully the lyrics are printed in full in the CD booklet. Although the album is Edwards' very personal view on religion it’s not just those who share his views that can appreciate the twisted beauty in these songs. The eastern influences in ‘To Make A Ring’ show that Edwards can infuse these highly personal songs with enough texture to make them interesting to those who have yet to be tempted into his world. The strongest and most immediate song is ‘Chest Of Drawers’ a ballad of sorts where Edwards performs all the music and where a gentle melody flows under that darkest of voices with sound effects of a chilling wind blowing in and out of the song. If Nick Cave has slowly lost his appeal for you in recent years you could do worse than turn to Edwards; just don’t think you are going to be in for an easy ride, a rewarding and ultimately satisfying one for sure but one you are going to have to spend some time on.

Track Listing:-
1 Sparrow Falls
2 Bleary Eyed Duty
3 To Make A Ring
4 Off The Cuff
5 Chest Of Drawers
6 Oil On Panel
7 The Speaking Hands
8 Down In Yon Forest
9 Tin Finger
10 Into The Piano

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Mosaic (2006)
Surprisingly accessible second album from Woven Hand, the new project of the notoriously intense David Eugene Edwards, the one-time frontman with 16 Horsepower

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