Steph Wood pairs diary-like lyricism with subtle folk on debut self-titled EP

Sydney singer-songwriter Steph Wood digs dip into her psyche for her self-titled EP, a soft-folk collection of heartbreak, doubt and inevitable empowerment.

Steph Wood has released a new self-titled project — a five-track collection marking as the Sydney singer-songwriter’s debut EP. Deeply introspective and carried by Wood’s powerhouse vocals, the folk-rock EP serves as a sonic wandering through the reaches of love, from lust and infatuation to hardship and inevitable reconciliation. Steph Wood features the lead single Ballerina, which sees the singer yearn for her partner’s recognition atop jangly guitar strums and pulsating percussion.

Down on my knees,” Wood croons on Ballerina, “hoping one I’m what you need.”  The track crescendos on the bridge, which features twinkling piano keys and an ascendent vocal performance. The rustic twang of acoustic guitar continues on fellow track Easy to Love, an intimate portrait of self-confidence with lyrics seemingly ripped from the pages of Wood’s own diary. “Everyone around me makes it look so easy,” Wood sings in vocals reminiscent of Kasey Musgraves, “to find someone to love.” 

Steph Wood self-titled EP

Easy to Love pairs Wood’s lyrical storytelling with blissfully sparse production, making for a subtle ballad that bleeds seamlessly into My Good Friend. Wood lightens the affairs on the third track, introducing the chime of tambourines and the kind of sun-tinged folk you might hear on a Mazzy Starr record. My Good Friend laments the passage of time, as Wood sings of bygone time and the lingering absence of old friends. Similar narrative territory is explored on fourth song Stranger, marking the EP’s most candid and compelling track yet.

With only the harmony of a piano and the gentle rhythm of drums, Stranger traces the emotional scars left behind in love’s battlefield, with Wood’s vocals shining through it all. “Don’t be a stranger,” Wood asks to a partner now made unreachable. “You said you wouldn’t do that to me.” Elsewhere, on Steph Wood  highlight Wherever You Are, Wood reflects on unrequited love and fading summer days, offering a kind of vivid melancholy you’d expect from a folk singer far further into their career. 

Steph Wood self-titled EP

“[The EP] was written in a time where Steph was finding her feet, searching for love and battling self doubt,” an accompanying press release reads. “The project goes through the motions of lust and infatuation, unrequited love, becoming strangers with someone you never expected to, fighting your own demons and ultimately winding up wanting to reconcile and go back to where it all began.” 

Wood’s self-titled debut was produced by Tim McArtney, and spawned the 2022 singles Ballerina and Stranger. Prior to that, Wood shared a pair of 2021 singles with If You Never Get to Amsterdam and Dreading the New Year, and elsewhere served as the support act for Thirsty Merc at his album launch. Listen to Steph Wood’s debut EP below, and head here to find her on Instagram.