The start of December officially ushered in the cold UK weather. However, not to fear, Joshua Woo’s latest release is here. ‘Beyond The Glass’ burst into the world in full form on the 2nd of December, ready to warm the ears. This debut release from the UK based multi-instrumentalist (and streamer) shows off a versatile approach to music creation – especially as this EP traverses genres, decades and influences with a quiet fluidity.
Track one, the eponymous ‘Beyond The Glass’, fluxes around with this airy synth and reverb-y surf-rock-like guitar. It reminds me of Chilean outfit Zephyr Bones and sets the chill tone of the EP. Additionally, Joshua’s voice takes on a similar stature to that of Kevin Parker – especially with subtle harmonies with himself on the backing vocal.
Following the excellent warm up of the first song, ‘Sunflower Seeds’ sends the listener back to the 80s with a shiny electric rock lead and then a choppy synth. The keys make me either want to solve crimes, avenge my deceased partner in a gritty middle American city or take on a headband adorned montage of success (a la Rocky). A rising chorus with an almost ballad-like final form is a welcome addition. Uplifting. Positive.
‘Future Tripping’ takes a slight step back. Joshua’s voice and chord choice adopt a striking delivery and there’s this slight melancholy touch of Radiohead-ness. That said, the ahs and tone of the keys lighten the mood from life affirming to being more fondly reflective. The track after this is ‘Without The Fear’, representing yet another change in direction as we take an acoustic twist. Paired with a surging back beat it picks the listener up from the emotional limbo provided from the previous song.
’10-2-1’ returns to a swirling electronic soundscape with a near hip-hop type beat. That said, this is contrasted (and complemented might I add) by a choir-like opening before Joshua brings about an excellent sense of euphoria with his layered chorus. The song is bookended nicely by more choir-like vocals before we come to our final track of the EP, the fittingly titled ‘Goodbye’. This one caps a solid collective showing, with a certain solemn romance you could slow dance to. There’s no doubt the talented Woo will build off this debut, as the tracks have already racked up some impressive play time – ‘Sunflower Seeds’ and ‘Without The Fear’ have both already breached the 20k mark. With songs impressively written, performed and produced by Joshua and firm BBC Introducing backing under his belt, the sky’s seemingly the limit.
On his work of the last two years, Woo says:
“It wasn't my intention initially to collect these songs into an EP. I was just releasing singles with no ambition to do any longer work. However, I played all the songs together in this particular order and it became apparent to me the songs told a whole different story together than they did when they were apart.”