Grace Woodroofe‘s rise to stardom has not been short in big name assistance. Demos discovered by the late Heath Ledger gained the actor’s eager support and the eventual production and creative help of Ben Harper. Over a four year period she recorded Always Want, a debut exuding a surprising amount of confidence for a 20-year-old. Woodroofe’s meld of blues, rock and brutal honesty make for an album of powerfully raw emotions.
Heavily influenced by the early morning darkness the songs were created in, Always Want allows its somber atmosphere to transcend into grave beauty. Woodroofe’s rugged vocals guide this change, transforming with each track from a husky whisper to striking authority, thick in a sultry attitude. Her once personal memories are revealed, composing an album of standout tracks on loss, love, and growing up.
Always Want‘s most memorable moments come in the wake of tragedy. The devastatingly goregous “H.” is a dedication to Ledger, who died before the album was finished, painting a mournful tale of loss yet bolstered by the lull of swelling strings and Woodroofe’s hushed well wishes (“Wherever you are/I hope you find what you are searching for”). “Battles” maintains a similar woeful spirit, recounting a tale of plans for poisoning an unrequited diner love, but with the addition of sleek bells the track turns surprisingly sexy.
Inspired by one of her favorite artists, Jack White, Always Want brandishes a raucous edge. The unexpectedly angry “Transformer” storms through with raging drums and fuzzy guitar to support Woodroofe during her Fiona Apple-like moment on vocals. Booming pangs of bluesy percussion inch along with Woodroofe’s warbling vocals, gaining equal force for an ending of instrumental culmination on “Nocturnal”. Though the spirit of Always Want is dark, Woodroofe adds an element of irresistible intrigue, turning her secrets into an unforgettable debut.
Essential Tracks: “Battles” , “H.” , and “Nocturnal”