Sofia Verbilla wrote “Ghosts” as the first song populating Harmony Woods, a project named for a sleepy Delaware town but informed by crucial junctures in her nearby Philadelphia. Verbilla lets her narrative linger in the miles between suburbia and city life while self-awareness from being both venerable and vulnerable rides shotgun. It’s the oldest song being revamped for the band’s sophomore LP,Make Yourself at Home, and it floats over the threshold with more ringing clarity than the loose chords jangled out on the 2016 demo. It’s a meditation on worry, a feedback loop of driving anxiety. Over muted alt-rock chords, Verbilla’s voice is crystal and glass, while storm clouds circle overhead, teasing an uncertain doom.
Harmony Woods is no stranger to mastering melodrama, with their debut albumNothing Specialdabbling in cinematic setups and climatic explosions, echoing the firepower churning between late adolescence and all that complicates it.Make Yourself at Homereturns to Sofia’s scene shop with more nuance, setting up a story of a toxic relationship with its foundation and fallout captured in widescreen. Produced by the band and Chris Teti (TWIABP, Fiddlehead), Harmony Woods directs the wide-eyed romance of a first night spent together—a steady pop-rock backbone jolts “The City’s Our Song” upright with its hook—and the countless nights spent driving this pair apart. The fulcrum point between bliss and disaster pivots on “That’s Okay,” where empty reassurances turn to resignation as the arrangement splinters open. The album toes the line between confusion and catharsis by tackling both in measured doses, whether that means unpacking forward motion (“Keep Going”) or the rose-colored tickle of nostalgia (“Sagittarius”) in layered first-person bursts.
Make Yourself at Homeinvites listeners to unwind their own unhealthy behaviors while the characters within stumble through doing the same. It may be an early entry in one of indie-rock’s most promising songbooks, but it’s one that remains long after its final curtain call.
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