Release Date: May 13, 2016
Record label: Where It's At Is Where You Are
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock
To say the last two years of Mark Hamilton’s life have been disruptive would be a massive understatement. In that time, his life has been on an emotional big dipper, the loss of a relationship bringing him to a personal crossroads. In his words, the resultant relocation to Vancouver forced Hamilton to have a long look at where he went next, and he decided to turn his back on music altogether.
Marking a decade since the release of the first Woodpigeon album, the Calgary indie-folk collective led by Mark Andrew Hamilton have unleashed T R O U B L E, their first work since 2013. The album is a contemporary collection of songs that provides fresh listening for those familiar with Woodpigeon and a welcome new take on the over-saturated indie-folk genre for those who aren't.The album features a variety of tasteful and restrained instrumentation. Great moments on the record coincide with sparse percussion and unconventional rhythms balanced by swooning synth or trumpets, as heard on "The Falling Tide." The tracks here are dominantly downtempo, but the occasional track such as "Canada" picks it up at just the right time.
Woodpigeon’s new record, T R O U B L E, is a lush and melancholy collection. The production by Sandro Perri adds new complex textures to the band’s already heavily orchestrated pop and pushes it in new directions. The best of these songs seem soft on the surface, but roil deep down. The rumbling percussion of “Why We Fight” gives the song propulsion.
TROUBLE is a strange thing. If an album were an animal this would be a nocturnal beast, ornery and difficult under the blinding brightness of day. Listen to this album in the morning, and you may well be underwhelmed. When night falls however, Canadian Woodpigeon’s latest, less-tuneful-than-usual affair suddenly starts to make sense, no longer sounding like a disparate mishmash of indie and Avalon-era Roxy Music, but instead transposed into a soundtrack for those lonesome nights.
The sixth studio long-player from Canadian overcast-pop confectioner Mark Andrew Hamilton, T R O U B L E sees Woodpigeon dialing back on the chamber pop flourishes of past outings in favor of a more restrained though no less confessional set of downbeat indie folk emissions. Written after a particularly nasty breakup that launched Hamilton on a whirlwind international journey, including sojourns in Argentina, Austria, and Turkey, the 11-track set navigates the brackish tributaries of cynicism and catharsis. Parsing through the world's oldest source of misery and pain is hardly a novel concept in the singer/songwriter arena, and Hamilton does little to differentiate himself from others who have tried to exorcise its myriad torments through melodic intervention.
"Underrated" gets overused in pop music, but it surely applies to peripatetic singer/songwriter Mark Hamilton. The Calgary-bred, Montreal-based nomad's Woodpigeon has taken several guises over the years, from its early incarnation as a beautifully twee indie folk collective to a stark solo project and somewhere in between. They've all served as showcases for Hamilton's poetic, emotive songwriting, but despite superlative reviews and tastemaker nods, he's never broken through in the same way as a Bon Iver or Sufjan Stevens (who share Hamilton's tremulous vocal style and strong folk influences).