We’re catching singer-songwriter Christina Ward in the middle of a shape-shift of sorts. The Doylestown-based artist has been making folky indie rock dating as far back as 2009; during the pandemic lockdown, after many years off, she returned to songwriting, releasing new recordings in a more isolated, reflective dreampop style — think Cocteau Twins and Mazzy Star. This lucid aesthetic was reflected on her EPs Rent (2021) and Calendar (2022), but when she finally hit the stage with her new material, she and her bandmates turned the volume way up, and her songwriting found a new direction.

Joined by propulsive drummer Tim Arnold (best known for being one-third of Good Old War), pensive bassist Anawim Avila, and the multi-instrumental Tony Dunst on keys and guitar, Ward debuts three new songs in this week’s Key Studio Session, and they’re draped in heady progressive rock and radiant psychedelic pop. The floating “Pharmacy” is reminiscent of indie songwriter Laura Viers until its gnarly breakdown, while “Wrapped Up” is a dramatic build into a cathartic explosion. While her bandmates bring the energy in a big way, the closing “Dark Star” reminds us that Ward is very much the centerpiece here, showcasing her Pink Floyd-ian guitar chops as much as her knack for emotive vocal melody.

Watch Christina Ward and her band perform in WXPN studios and check out a gallery of photos from the session below; to see her in person, catch her opening for modern rock icon Anthony Green on his northeast run of tour dates next week, including a September 2 stop at Tellus360 in Lancaster; details here.

Christina Ward - The Key Studio Sessions (Full Set)

“Wrapped Up”
“Dark Star”