Thursday, April 29, 2010

WOODPIGEON'S "Die Stadt Muzikanten"

At End of the Road Festival 2007 I somehow managed to miss all three sets from Canadian indie-folk-pop collective Woodpigeon. I don’t think the outcome would have been any different once I subsequently heard Woodpigeon and the songs of Mark Hamilton – it just means I missed out on starting the love affair earlier.

Now here is the latest instalment in the affair: third album proper “Die Stadt Muzikanten”. The record came out in the UK last week – but in North American in January. We are catching up though: “Songbook” was released in 2008 on End of the Road Records, originally 2006 in Canada, and for the follow-up “Treasury Library Canada” the time delay was down to a year – 2009 in the UK compared to the previous year in Canada. If you are familiar with those two earlier records you won’t find anything surprising on 2010: there are no dramatic left-turns or sonic re-inventions. But Woodpigeon made a much deeper, more personal and richer record than its predecessors.

The title of the album comes from an early memory of singer and songwriter Mark Hamilton of an ornamental decorative tray his Oma (grandmother) had: “The tray’s iconic image portrays the climactic scene from Der Bremen Stadtmusikanten, (The Bremen City Musicians) a popular fable originating from the city of [her] birthplace”. Those grandparents were “two people endlessly fascinating to me, but whom I never really got to know as well as I would have liked to. I started thinking in terms of couples, of people coming and going… But the songs aren’t strictly about Germany, or my Oma and Opa. Instead, the consideration of the lives they left behind gave me an extra little push to look back at the things I left unresolved in all of the other cities I’ve found myself”.

I wrote about this record elsewhere but the brief version is “Woodpigeon have again made a ‘quiet’ record that is also epic, stirring, emotional and breath-taking. It’s a long record – but not over-long – one that demands attention… less a rollercoaster, more an elegant glide through the tunnel of love… their most ambitious, varied, personal and sumptuous record to date”. And there is much love elsewhere: Artrocker’s five star review declared it to be "...the best album to come out of Canada since “Funeral” ".

You can stream the whole album on the Woodpigeon website or listen to the track below the band is sharing if you need persuading. If not head to your local independent record retailer or to End of the Road Records website immediately and grab a copy (and there is a limited edition bonus disc of songs via EOTR if you are quick).

And then prepare to welcome Woodpigeon back to the UK this week and next:
1 May Holy Trinity Church, Leeds [BUY TICKETS]
2 May Cabaret Voltaire Edinburgh [BUY TICKETS]
3 May The Deaf Institute, Manchester [BUY TICKETS]
4 May The Hanbury Ballroom, Brighton [BUY TICKETS]
6 May Union Chapel, London [BUY TICKETS]
9 May The Forum, Tunbridge Wells [BUY TICKETS]

Die Stadt Muzikanten [BUY]

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