Woven In | Photo by Bob Sweeney | photo courtesy of the artist
Listen to Woven In’s latest post-surf LP Highs and Ultra Lows
The very first sound that comes out of Highs and Ultra Lows is a quick rumble of drum hits that echo the opening of infamous surf-pop song “Wipe Out.” Bright guitar tones come in and you’re ready to hit the beach. But then the tempo slows down a little, and you realize Woven In songwriter Mariah Johnson is taking things in a very different direction.
The gloomy “dark surf” of Johnson and drummer Brandon Och, who caught our attention last year with their Feel LP, is a paradoxical blend of post-punk and surf pop. Johnson inverts your expectations of happy-go-lucky beach party lyrics and instead explores social anxiety (“Tongue In a Cage”) and unsuccessful attempts at falling in love (“Hex/The Whack”).
Johnson’s voice is deep and droning, but every now and then she lets out a high-pitched yelp that both punctuates and diverts your attention from some of her darker thoughts (“Paradise” / “Shallow”). Johnson puts everything on the table but uses the quintessential surf pop riffs to mask it just a little bit; it’s like hiding in plain sight.