From the iconic music scene of New Haven, Connecticut, whitewood drive is an emerging 3-piece indie band that has a bright future in the world of rock. Despite having only four published tracks to their name, whitewood drive has an incredible range of musical talents. With Chris Cyr on guitar and vocals, Rob Ettinger on bass, and Eric Cassidy on drums, whitewood drive showcases their versatility in their most recent release – a double-single featuring "breathe." and "cosmic hero."
The first song in the release, "breathe.," sends listeners right back to the 90s with its guitar-heavy energy and gritty nature. It’s reminiscent of a nostalgic grunge track, and the song prioritizes resounding guitar chords over vocal dominance. Between verses and choruses, whispering is used as not only backing vocals, but as its own instrument, adding depth to the unfiltered tone. "breathe." is an emotional rollercoaster, transitioning from a slow tempo to a more forceful sound, reeling the listener right back in when they might be drifting away.
The song’s unpolished charm emphasizes its underlying meaning of change and transition. The second verse, “Breathe it in, inhale your air forever / Seen your changing, let’s hope it’s for the better,” hints at a lingering connection with someone who is going through a personal transformation, followed by a glimmer of hope that the transformation leads to something better–whether that’s for themselves or the relationship at hand.
The second song in the release is "cosmic hero.," a song that takes listeners away to an entirely different universe. The track is dreamy and hazy, infused with a shot of shoegaze–nearly the complete opposite vibe to "breathe." Instead of the rough and aching sound of its counterpart, "cosmic hero." immerses the listener in a tranquil, almost-reflective soundscape made from layers of reverb and ambiance. Listening to the track feels like laying in the middle of the ocean, with waves of deep emotion circling from one ear to the other. The song’s gentle yet emotionally charged tone tiptoes on the fence of psychedelia, and is even reminiscent of something that would be played in the background of a coming-of-age film.
Despite their audible differences, "cosmic hero." serves as an important partner to "breathe." While "breathe." confronts the intimidating reality of personal change,
"cosmic hero." is the rational thoughts at the back of the mind, reminding of the importance of this change. The track addresses the mental strain required to sustain a relationship that’s emotionally draining. Throughout "cosmic hero.," the subject is referred to as the “spaceman,” and the lines, “So spaceman please don't let me see you go / have what you need but then leave me alone,” express a longing for the spaceman to stay while simultaneously acknowledging that they need to go, capturing the conflicting emotions of personal autonomy and boundaries.
Releasing "breathe." and "cosmic hero." together paints a story of two individuals stuck in a challenging transitional phase in their relationship. The songs tell the relatable emotions of balancing the desire to remain together, despite any unhappiness, and the option to part ways and grow personally, exploring the all-too-familiar sense that something just isn’t right in a relationship and whatever that is, it’s becoming too difficult to ignore.
"breathe." and "cosmic hero." serve as a wonderful beginning to whitewood drive and remind us that those confusing emotions we feel in the very back of our minds always find their way into songs–and in this case, whitewood drive has captured those ironic feelings of loving someone so much that you need to set them free. I’m incredibly excited to see what they come up with next. You can stream "breathe." and "cosmic hero." now on Spotify and Apple Music.