On Disc - Woodpigeon

Album: Songbook

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Songbook by Woodpigeon

Woodpigeon
Songbook
Rectangle Records

3 stars

In Songbook, Calgary-based Woodpigeon’s first full-length album, all seven band members and half a dozen of their friends can be heard playing various instruments. While the strange combinations of strings, horns and bells sound interesting at first, the numerous instruments are at times excessive, often leaving tracks sounding muddy and indistinct.

The album’s better songs, most notably the title track and the first half of “Home as a Romanticized Concept Where Everyone Loves You Always and Forever,” are those featuring lead singer/guitarist Mark Hamilton with only two or three other musicians. In these tracks Woodpigeon’s soothing vocal harmonies and gentle guitars finally shine through, giving them a sound similar to many songs on the Garden State soundtrack.

The album tells the story of Hamilton’s past friendships, lost loves and travels across the globe. Songbook ventures away from this standard singer/songwriter repertoire on only a few songs, like the amusing yet slightly disturbing closing track “Death by Ninja.”

Overall, Woodpigeon’s debut is summed up very well by its own lyrics: “That was good... but in actual fact, you all can do better than that.”

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