Roy Woods Shows Potential on ‘Nocturnal’ EP
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…”
“Four Seasons” begins enigmatically – typical of the distinct, Canadian urban contemporary sound. Much like “Magic,” Woods contrasts the lazier sound of the production with more assertive, pointed pop-rapping. With overall stability of the production questionable, hard-hitting drums lock things down. While he’s honest lyrically, “Four Seasons” lacks memorability. It’s not bad, but doesn’t ascend to the next level.
On the brief “Chilli Peppers,” Woods is assisted by fellow OVO Sound colleagues, Majid Jordan. Vibe and sound dominate this record, more so than top-notch songwriting. Nonetheless, the hook is infectious:
“She’s hot as red hot chili peppers, hot, hot, hot / Going on a Californication…”
“Involved” continues the tough, unapologetic vibe of Woods – profane and edgy. Two things are on a massive high here: sex, first and foremost, and swagger. It’s not far-fetched. Woods is 20 years old, so being “involved” with a girl as well as being confident and cool are to be expected. It doesn’t make for a timeless classic, but another winning hook comes out of the mix. The potential is there, even if “Involved” needs more involvement with songwriting craft.
The remainder of Nocturnal features the same pros and cons, for better or for worse. “Instinct” brings along MadeinTYO. Once more, production and vibe are a bright spot. The hook wins as well, but lyrically, it’s forgettable. “Love You” suffers from a lack of depth, with too much repetition holding it back. Essentially, he shows his cards. While the moody vibe shines, the problem is, by this point, we’ve been there, done that with countless artists, namely Drake. “Dangerous” concludes Nocturnal, with slightly more distinction and oomph. It’s not masterwork, but showcases Woods’ potential.
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.