Canadian up-and-coming urban artist Roy Woods shows potential on his second EP, Nocturnal. Woods is still a work in progress.
Roy Woods is the latest Canadian artist looking to breakthrough stateside. Signed to OVO Sound, the label founded by Drake, it’s unsurprising that Woods embraces similar sensibilities. Nocturnal is his second EP. While he showcases potential, Nocturnal still shows a musician who is a “work in progress” in regards to artistry and being the “total package.”
“Magic” initiates Nocturnal with a laid-back tempo and slick production work, particularly the brassy bass synths. Woods contrasts the tempo with his agile, rhythmic pop-raps. Even if Woods is classifiable as a singer, the approach is clearly hip-hop driven. Throughout its course, Woods doesn’t lack confidence, evident throughout his verses and the swagger-laden hook:
“You can get mad that I made it / you ain’t know the work I put in / check my profile and they hit me / I been doing me on the daily…/ I be makin’ magic on the daily…”
The remainder of the EP has its share of flaws. “Four Seasons” finds Woods delivering a lyrically honest performance, but lacks memorability. It’s not bad, but doesn’t ascend to the next level. On “Chilli Peppers” he’s assisted by Majid Jordan. Essentially, vibe and sound dominate this record, more so than top-notch songwriting.
“Involved” continues the tough, unapologetic vibe of Woods – profane and edgy. While the potential is here, the gripe is “Involved” needs more involvement with songwriting craft.
Beyond “Involved” Nocturnal features similar pros and cons. “Instinct” (featuring MadeinTYO) suffers from a lack of lyrical memorability. “Love You” suffers from a lack of depth, with too much repetition holding it back. “Dangerous” concludes, with slightly more distinction and oomph, but it’s no masterwork.
Ultimately, Nocturnal showcases some potential, but lacks depth and distinction. As unfair as it to mention, Woods sounds too similar to Drake. Furthermore, Drake, 10 years Woods’ senior, does it better. The sound is desirable, but the material is below average. Woods has something, but he doesn’t present himself as the next, great superstar on Nocturnal, which is a problem. The same issue plagues other Drake contemporaries as well. Maybe on his next EP or album, Woods breaks the curse.
Roy Woods • Nocturnal EP • OVO Sound / Warner Bros. • Release: 12.23.16
Photo Credit: OVO Sound / Warner Bros.