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ep review : black lakes, only for the woods


If you close your eyes as you listen to the opening track on Only for the Woods, you will feel as though you’ve been transported to another land. Imagine warm fires, worn picnic rugs, and a camp of gypsies dancing, clapping, and playing their guitars, banjos, and loud drums. The exotic food, beautiful wagons, placid horses and warm mulled wine seem almost real – if only you could teleport.

The track is mostly instrumental with a distinctive beat, flowing melody, and vocals being introduced towards the end. A powerful and intriguing introduction to the EP, HBDP is full of life and adventure, and leaves you in anticipation of what’s to follow.

Only for the Woods is the first in a two-EP compilation, affectionately titled The Trick Hotel, with the second part, Entry to the Trick Hotel being released early next year. The two EPs were recorded over five weeks above a Sydney hotel and were inspired by jam sessions and Black Lakes’ love of old Australian rock.

Black Lakes consists of twin brothers David (drums) and Stephen (vocals, bass) Kelly, Brenton Freeman (guitar), and Phil Shingles (guitar). The four grew up in rural New South Wales and have confessed to being influenced by musicians such as The Church, Paul Kelly, and Midnight Oil.

Only for the Woods turns increasingly darker as it moves on, each track signifying a new feeling or journey, with the band’s rural upbringing and passion for rock being reflected in their unique sound. The songs sound similar, yet completely different at the same time, and the vocals and lyrics all blur into one dreamy, engrossing, piece of art. The basis of Only for the Woods is lonely guitars and low, echoing vocals that blend perfectly with the deep instrumentals. The EP, at times, is sad. It is romantic, and it is lonely, but it’d definitely be something that would warm your up in winter.

The band’s objective, in the making of The Trick Hotel EPs, was to break free from any current perceptions of modern, independent releases, and so far, this first instalment of their release is a beautifully unique, nostalgic, chill-inducing EP that is unlike anything you would have ever heard.

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