16 Horsepower was always a tad too over-dramatic for my tastes, and both their influences and narrative dramatizations were a bit too blatant. David Eugene Edwards has a lot of good things going, but 16 HP didn’t seem the perfect foil for his musical visions. Good thing he’s gone solo then, tackling songwriting, performance and production duties on this first album.
Woven Hand gives Edwards the opportunity to express his purified self through cathartic doomsday folk. Like some Appalachian Nick Cave, Edwards’s music is disturbed and creepy, weary and weathered, despaired and agonizing. Woven Hand is expressively dark, and Edwards’s lyrics are extrovertly religious. 16 HP was a Christian band, though many listeners weren’t able to tell, with Edwards’s lyrics shrouded in enigma and abstract metaphors. Filled with dread and confusion, pain, hunger and God fearing, his religion is personal and reverent. This time around the lyrics are more obvious and directly reflect this religiosity, his motivation for making music at all.
There is still the Southern trailer park ambitions and the high mountain/howlin’-at-the-wind melodrama in his music, but somehow it’s made believable this time around. It is soul-wrenching like never before, Woven Hand is urgent where 16 HP were just short of pompous. More sonically detailed, and more focused and angst-ridden, Woven Hand provides Edwards with a far more egoistic and satisfying outlet for his urgent preaching.
Soundsfamilyre Records: http://www.soundsfamilyre.com/