And just like that, Ravenna Woods, once a proudly minimalist acoustic-folk trio, expands into something far more amorphous and unpredictable. The band’s music has always lurked in shadowy corners, a dark mystery just out of reach from the flickering campfire. As they shuffle the lineup and, for the first time, work with an outside producer, they transition into a more cosmic kind of haunting.
Credit bandleader Chris Cunningham’s drive to constantly reinvent Ravenna Woods as the thing that most suits his mercurial artistic temperament. The band is now a quintet, with Cunningham on guitar and vocals, longtime drummer Matt Badger and keyboardist Brantley Duke, plus new multi-instrumentalist Nicolas Danielson and bassist Reed LV. They recorded their latest material with Matt Bayles, the producer behind anvil-heavy rockers like Mastodon, Akimbo, Botch, These Arms Are Snakes and a slew of other Northwest icons. As heard on “Alleyways,” the first single from their upcoming Alleyways and Animals EP, their current direction descends directly from the eerie, propulsive synthery of John Carpenter. No surprise that the video for the song, which we’re thrilled to premiere today, plays like a stylized horror film. Cunningham, who directed, has long been obsessed with Carpenter’s visual and sonic aesthetic, and “Alleyways” is a clear, freaky homage, not to mention a catchy tune.
Ravenna Woods’ Alleys and Animals EP comes out October 14 on Rocket Heart Records. Expect a full-length follow-up early next year.