You know those hugely irritating TV adverts? OK, let’s narrow it down a bit. The adverts are the ones promising you a free DVD or kit – the first in what on the face of it looks like a collectable series.
The trouble is, the first one might be free – but if you want to make an outlay on the whole lot, you’re looking at a red-faced call to the bank manager and a wait of six months.
That’s where the title of the new album from Mark Hamilton’s Woodpigeon comes from, though in this case it’s fair to assume he must be referring to something infinitely more desirable and affordable. Otherwise Treasury Library Canada would be winging its way back to sender, post haste.
The term ‘new’ album is also a little misleading. New to us, maybe, but TLC (a coincidence?) has been around for a while online and off stage. It does however mark Hamilton’s continued growth as a songwriter since returning to Calgary from Scotland for good, and he seems to have been creatively inspired..
Many of the sentiments expressed will be familiar, but they are often expressed in a clever way. The initially cutesy sound of Piano Pieces For Adult Beginners has a sting in its tail, and it’s tempting to think Hamilton might be referring to the break-up of his relationship in the aside “good things come to those you hate”, which adds a sudden tang of bitterness.
While Woodpigeon might stop short of the carefree humour implied by the leaping animals on the cover, they often retain a glint in the corner of the eye, often expressed through the many means they have at their disposal.
It’s this, the orchestration, that propels the band higher than many of their contemporaries. 7th Fret Over Andres processes into a gorgeous mini-wall of sound, luminous brass adding extra colour. Meanwhile the gorgeously icy violins of Foon Yap on I Live A Lot Of Places make a lovely introduction to a song that gradually ups the temperature.
The songs are often in two halves, which is a good thing as on several occasions they threaten to be too long, often pushing the five minute mark. This helps on successive listens, as once you’re familiar with Hamilton’s lyrics there is still much instrumental craft to admire.
This looks to be the album that has really brought the nomads that make up Hamilton’s band together, and it’s another Canadian triumph to add to an ever-increasing list.