Post-Humous Press: Greenwood, We Miss You

This review was originally posted on Crap Filter. The band has since called it quits, which is disappointing but it happens. I hope to talk with the guys about what they are doing nowadays, if I get a hold of them I’ll make sure to post any updates I have. Notice the final paragraph, it dates this review quite a bit by referencing the time Scott Stapp appeared on TV drunk.

[rating:7.5/10]

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Maryland based indy-rock quintet Greenwood began as a group of college guys in Tennessee with several things in common: location, desire to produce good music, and faith. 2005 marked a big year for them, as the relocated (with their wives and girlfriends) to Maryland in order to storm the Baltimore, Philadelphia, and DC scenes. Thus far, it has been a challenge, but with the catalyst of their debut release “The Hope Dialect”, things are moving in the right direction. With 8 tracks at approximately 33 minutes, I dare not call an EP, but it’s most definitely not a full length release. That being said, this release is as solid as an independently released rock album can be, a cohesive sound reminiscent of early Jimmy Eat World with a production quality that was much better than this reviewer could have expected.

I asked Art Wong about the title:

The title was my wife’s idea. Hope is a big thing to us, and communicating that hope musically to people is a big part of why we play music at all. While we were all trying to think of clever and obtuse ways of getting this idea across, Sarah offered her suggestion. Something about it is simple and yet deep. The language of Hope… that’s what I want people to hear when they listen to this record.

The CD opens with the vocals of lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Art Wong and a single guitar as the leadoff track “Save Me” begins. Soon, the verse gives way to a rockout breakdown, displaying aggressive guitars (Art on rhythm, joined by Noel Clark on lead), hard-hitting bass (Tyler Malone), pounding drums (Jesse Florida), and intricate violin (Allan Wong, who just happens to be Art’s brother). After going into another verse, Greenwood does what they do best and deliver a powerful, sing-along chorus that rocks. The song structure here is simple, variations on a traditional verse-chorus-verse pattern. They have a formula for songwriting, or so it seems, that gives all 8 tracks a distinct flavor. Thus, the certainly have a specific Greenwood sound… but what sets them apart from so many bands that have their own specific sound is that they don’t fall prey to putting out a CD with 8 tracks that all sound the same.

Each instrument is played with grace and with force, yet whether the moment is a fierce, aggressive one or a calm serene one, all of the instruments come forth as a single sound. There are most certainly parts where a certain instrument has the spotlight on it, as with the violin in the finale of “Prom Queen”, but never does any one musician upstage another. A team approach to songwriting is evident when listening to every song. This is instrumental (no pun intended) in creating the distinct Greenwood sound I spoke of before. Without a united front, the music would have a less unified tone and feeling.

To capture that sound, Greenwood entrusted a couple of unknown producers that did a remarkable job. Any track on this CD could be a college radio favorite, “Arms of My Father” would fare well on Christian Rock Radio, and “Prom Queen” could easily be on heavy rotation on any alternative rock station. Tyler Malone had this to say:

Ryan Kyzar and Skye McCaskey did such a great job mixing and mastering the project, that I believe we even were surprised at the level of quality that was achieved. Many people who hear it assume we are signed.

All in all, a solid release for any band… given the release was a self-release on a tight budget and was the bands debut, it is an incredible release. I’d recommend this CD for fans of Jimmy Eat World, Cursive, twothirtyeight, and Camper Van Beethoven. If you are looking for music with heart and raw emotion that maintains musical integrity and production value, this is a great addition to your library.

With Mr. Stapp walking around like a drunken buffoon (not to mention the fact that his music was never any good), maybe there’s room in the limelight for some new Godrockers. With emerging Christian acts hitting MTV and other manistream venues (Relient K on TRL, mewithoutYou touring with The Blood Brothers and Dredg, Thousand Foot Krutch selling out large rock clubs) you’d hope that a band as solid as Greenwood has a shot.

~ by thepaintedman on May 26, 2009.

4 Responses to “Post-Humous Press: Greenwood, We Miss You”

  1. […] bookmarks tagged camper van beethoven thepaintedman.com » Post-Humous Press: Greenwood,… saved by 4 others     tenzintsung bookmarked on 05/27/09 | […]

  2. Hi, good post. I have been wondering about this where this band went. Keep us postedd.

  3. […] An interview with Art Wong and the Greenwood should be up on […]

  4. […] re-posting my Crap Filter Greenwood piece, I decided to catch up with Art, the former lead […]

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