ALBUM PREMIERE: Wood River Let Creativity Flourish with Exploratory Art-pop on ‘More Than I Can See’

Charlotte Greve, Wood River, Portrait, Annika Nagel Photography, Berlin 2018

Among all the genres that ripple and refract through the work of multi-instrumentalist and composer Charlotte Greve and her Wood River quartet, “new music” might be the line of best fit — at least for the moment.

“I’m really interested in music that’s right in the middle, between the genres,” she says, noting that more festivals, venues and record labels are leaning into a brave new world built by adventurous young musicians who respect their roots, but aren’t incurably tethered to the past. “We’re all just interested in good music without putting a big stamp on it, like ‘This is jazz,’ or ‘this is indie pop’ or whatever. I’m quite over the whole genre discussion, you know? Most people are, and I think that’s a positive thing.”

More Than I Can See, out February 28 on Enja’s Yellowbird Records imprint, is as much a statement of Wood River’s collective ability to transcend genre as it is Greve’s own musical journey from her native Germany to the bustling clubs of New York City. The band — featuring Greve (alto saxophone, voice and synths), Keisuke Matsuno (guitar), Simon Jermyn (electric bass) and Tommy Crane (drums) — channels influences as far-flung as jazz-rock fusion, ambient trance music and quirky art-pop, all with a well-honed feel for disruptive improvisation. And the energy seems to have fueled Greve’s growth as a vocalist; while she first tested the waters on Wood River’s self-titled 2015 debut on just one track, now she brings a full-fledged songwriter’s repertoire to an entire album.

Today Glide is excited to offer an exclusive early listen to the new album ahead of its release this Friday. From the opening notes of the first song “Future Fun”, you can hear Greve’s exploratory, free-flowing sensibility as she creatively fuses influences of prog and art rock, jazz and pop together to form a sound that is totally unique. The album was recorded in Brooklyn and produced by singer-songwriter Grey McMurray, who came on board after a fruitful meeting with Greve that sparked some exciting ideas about her lyrical flow. Indeed, throughout More Than I Can See (which gets its title from a line in the trippy ambient-rock anthem “Shifter”) it becomes clear that this is an uplifting, forward-thinking concept album, and the work of a band that has evolved into a symbiotic unit. The band flexes their instrumental power on songs like pop-prog “The Procrastinator,” while giving others such as “See” a textural sound with a distinctly Brazilian feel. On “Hidden Word” the band constructs an otherworldly, almost operatic rock ballad with Matsuno showing off his funky, Prince-like chops on guitar. Ultimately, the album is a culmination of Greve’s musical experiences in the worlds of jazz, pop and art, and with the help of her band she translates this into a collection of songs that truly sounds like nothing you’ve heard before. 

“I think to many people, this will still sound like a jazz album, with super poppy music,” she says, “but I’m not trying to be on one or the other side. I really want to go deeper, right in between the aesthetic of rock and pop songs, while still having the improvisational background. This is music that doesn’t necessarily play well in a jazz club, or on a rock stage. It’s somewhere in between, and I really hope to reach that audience, and the venues that support these kinds of bands and that kind of music.”

LISTEN:

Photo credit: Annika Nagel

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