Saturday, August 29, 2009

Shout Out / Review: The Wooden Sky @ Sonic Boom, 24 Aug.

On Monday evening local roots rock band The Wooden Sky played a free set in the basement of Sonic Boom Records in the Annex. The place was nearly full, and we were all treated to a full set of songs new and old. The 5-piece performed tracks off their new album, If I Don't Come Home You'll Know I'm Gone, just out this week, as well as 2006's self-titled disc. The band's front-man, Gavin Gardiner, was in fine form, and the other band members were too. I was sitting at the front with a few others, and enjoyed myself immensely. I've seen this band a couple times in the past, but it's been many months, and it looks like they've settled into their new lineup really well.

The new album will appeal to the band's existing fanbase: there are no big surprises here. And it should solidify The Wooden Sky's place as one of the country's top younger (but experienced) roots bands. Gavin's got a great voice, and tells compelling stories. The string-heavy band---bass, guitar, banjo, violin, but also keyboard, harmonica, and percussion---adds intensity and musical interest. The addition of female backing vocals on the disc adds a new layer to the band's sound. The first track, "Oh My God (It Still Means A Lot To Me)," captures the band's calmer moments well. On the second, the pace is quickened and keyboard comes in; on the third, the drums play a larger role. But then we're back to a quieter mood... until the freneticism comes in part-way through the fourth song. And so it goes. There are few standout tracks on the album. But this isn't a slight: it's all worth listening to. My own favourites are the less rockier ones, including "An Evening Hymn," "Something Hiding For Us In The Night," and these two:

Download: "Oh My God (It Still Means A Lot To Me)" (If I Don't Come Home You'll Know I'm Gone, 2009).
Download: "Oslo" (If I Don't Come Home You'll Know I'm Gone, 2009).

The band's been on the road this summer, playing living rooms, backyards, and other smaller spaces. They head back out near the end of September, backing up Elliott Brood across the continent. Sounds like a brilliant pairing to me.

[Photo credit: Frank Yang.]

1 comment:

The R.O.B. said...

Probably one of the stronger albums of the year - to date. Hopefully I'll catch them sometime before the year is out...