EP Review: Embracing Intimate Upheavals with Blood Root’s Debut ‘Crux’

Blood Root © Micah Mathewson
Achingly evocative and unapologetically vulnerable, Blood Root’s debut EP ‘Crux’ is a tender ten-minute journey through ethereal indie folk and inviting, immersive dream pop. Don’t call it a quarantine record: It’s so much more than that.
for fans of Pom Pom Squad, Alvvays
Stream: ‘Crux’ – Blood Root

I’m a mess today, i’m in my own way, at least that’s what the cards did say… and i’m thinking that they’re right– ’cause we all have to learn to lose sometimes

Dazzling and lush, intimate and raw, Blood Root’s debut EP is a dynamic outpouring and a feverish upheaval all in one giant ten-minute breath. Achingly evocative and unapologetically vulnerable, Crux is a tender ten-minute journey through ethereal indie folk and inviting, immersive dream pop. Don’t call it a quarantine record: It’s so much more than that.

CRUX – Blood Root

CRUX – Blood Root

self-medicate on a weekday.
just trying not to suffocate
just trying to feel alright.
i’m a mess today,
i’m in my own way,
at least that’s what the cards did say…
and i’m thinking that they’re right
’cause we all have to learn to lose sometimes
i think i’m losing it…
or am i selfish?
just trying to see the point of it
just trying to survive
sometimes it’s hard to want to be alive
why did you run?
we could be having fun still
i’m not ok, i’m not ok
i’m not ok, i’m not OK
so, i’ll just self-medicate
– “self-medicating on a weekday (an introduction),” Blood Root

Independently released on July 24, 2020, Blood Root’s debut EP Crux is an entrancing first look at an artist we cannot wait to get to know better in the coming years. The moniker for Nashville, TN-based Taylor Wafford (former frontwoman and songwriter for North Carolina indie folk band The Blue Wild from 2015-2017), Blood Root’s initial introduction came in the form of last year’s singles “Conversations” and “Teeth.” Making a kind of meaningful pop that is all her own, Blood Root likens her music to that of Daughter, Sylvan Esso, and Maggie Rogers: It’s both experiential and grounding all at once. While her initial releases had more of a polished finesse to them, Crux is defiant in its grungier, more expansive emotional and aural expression.

Blood Root © Micah Mathewson

Blood Root © Micah Mathewson

Crux is impassioned and intense – the result of introspection and isolation, a product of our impossible present day.

Four cinematic songs plunge artist and listeners alike into moments of dreamy reverie, wandering, searching, and self-healing as Blood Root explores her mental health, emotional state, and life as it has been throughout 2020. From the pulsing, overdriven opener “self-medicating on a weekday” through to the brooding “crying in the soup aisle at kroger” and the vocally magnificent overhaul “O.H.E.”, Crux is unflinchingly direct and overwhelmingly expressive.

you make me feel so bad
why do i let you do that?
now i’m crying in the middle
of the aisle in the Kroger on 21st and Blair
something has got to give;
i think i’m searching for
something that doesn’t exist
and it’s painful to admit things
just aren’t getting any better,
the harder that i try
i’ve got so much to give, but i’m tired
i’ve got so much to give; i’ve got so much to give.
i’ve got so much to give, but i’m tired
– “crying in the soup aisle at kroger,” Blood Root

“It’s interesting to notice that the best things can be born out of pain and struggle,” Blood Root’s Taylor Wafford explains. “Drawing on parallels, I was born in a hurricane, and this short but potent project was born during a pandemic and the most desolate of times – for pretty much everyone. During the first couple months of quarantine, I found myself reaching for new creative outlets in an attempt to stay connected. The walls were closing in, and it led me to leave a year-long relationship, re-think my purpose for making art, and spontaneously create this EP. Although it is certainly a strange time to be releasing music, I firmly believe that this could not wait to be shared.”

“It is a brutally honest portrait of the last several months of my life, and my hope is that it will feel like a quirky, warm embrace to all who hear it. We must savor every ounce of connection that we possibly can during these uncertain times, and I feel privileged with the responsibility of facilitating some of those connections.”

Blood Root © Micah Mathewson

Blood Root © Micah Mathewson

do you still recall that time
we drove to get away?
back to our old mountain town
to feel the warm embrace
i still remember sitting
in the passenger seat,
touching your shoulder
and the way you looked at me
i can’t stop thinking of you;
it’s been quite a long year or two
what do you suppose i do to get over you?
i know you don’t want me back;
tragic, but it don’t change the fact
guess i’ll have to live with that, but i’ll be blue
– “o.h.e.”, Blood Root

Crux is overwhelming in all the right ways. By the time “what is happening (a reflection)” heralds the record’s close with a strikingly intimate immersion of sound, Blood Root has made her innermost experience and deepest feelings known. “Trying to make sense of all of this, trying to believe that good exists,” she sings somberly. “things are looking pretty grim, all of this and without him, I cannot believe what is happening.” It’s a poignant and bittersweet summarization of what Crux is all about.

Alongside her record, Blood Root provided a definition of the very EP title itself:

Crux (noun): a puzzling or difficult problem; an unsolved question; an essential point requiring resolution or resolving an outcome; a main or central feature (as of an argument)

If that isn’t a fitting way to capture our current mindset, then what is?

Crux is complicated, but equally spellbinding; it’s a complex, raw musical and emotional journey through life at a time when life is at its most turbulent – in utter turmoil, really. And yet, Blood Root’s music is tender and immersive; it’s comforting – the kind of music we need now, more than ever.

— —

:: stream/purchase Blood Root here ::
:: stream/purchase Crux EP here ::

— — — —

CRUX – Blood Root

Connect to Blood Root on
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
📸 © Micah Mathewson

:: Stream Blood Root ::

Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com