Royal Wood Love Will Linger

Royal Wood Love Will Linger
8
Finally: a Royal Wood release that lives up to the Peterborough-born troubadour's promise. Whereas prior releases, like this year's Ever After the Farewell and 2016's Ghost Light, relied heavily on glossy production and indulged in schmaltz, Wood's brand new EP, Love Will Linger, trounces both predecessors by stripping things back.
 
Wood is wisely more strategic with his earnestness this go around, especially on songs like "I Was Wrong," (which restricts pining tones to "ooh's" and "hey's"  on the chorus instead of letting them dominate the entire track) or on "Photograph," (for which Wood employs a deeper register and speak-sing-y delivery on the verses before switching to a feather light register on the chorus).
 
Equally exciting: the sheer range of styles, tones and muses at work on this new EP. Indeed, Love Will Linger is a testament to Wood's range more than anything he's put out in years. That's not only apparent in his echoey, rockabilly-indebted singing on "Make Your Mind Up," but also with the Ron Sexsmith-esque brevity he uses to give "Shelter," a needlepoint narrow enough to pierce the heart of any listener with a pulse.
 
The precision with which Wood employs his strengths on this new EP bode well for his next LP, while also giving Love Will Linger far more staying power than its comparatively lacklustre recent forbears. (Outside)