"Young & Vain Vol. 2"
For an exceedingly earnest album, MD Woods's latest EP, "Young & Vain Vol. 2," starts on an ironic note. Lead singer Nick Moore sounds neither young nor vain when he sings, "And I don't believe in fate, I don't believe there's just that one / But my God, my heart — it shakes — every time I see her smile."
So begins the opening track, "Finally In Love," from the EP, which was self-released on July 6 with Howlo's Ben Morey at the helm as co-producer with the band. This contemplative four-song suite of folk rock ballads revolves around Moore's fervent blue-collar vocals. With a voice that combines Bruce Springsteen's gruff timbre with Christopher Paul Stelling's tender delivery, Moore sounds bloodied and bruised, but self-aware and resolute.
It is this spirit that powers each song and gives the EP its potency, though the pace lags during the mournful and somewhat ponderous second track, "Vomit." On the potent "Bosses," drummer Adam Netsky's heartbeat rhythm sounds like a distant war march and Ben Turiano plucks away insistently on the banjo, while Moore coaxes unwieldy spirits from a Theremin. He comes to a dark and sobering conclusion: "You got it figured out / That heaven is all about / Learning how to eat at an empty table."
The EP closes with "Surface," a rollicking anthem that sounds like a swampy, backwoods U2. If you like passionate singer-songwriter material, "Young & Vain Vol. 2" is right in your wheelhouse.