The Wooden Birds
Barsuk Bark 85 CD
Andrew Kenny’s outfit American Analog Set made the bedroom rock aesthetic an artful one; cultivating several lovely, homespun yet musically sophisticated releases. His latest project, the Wooden Birds, releases Magnolia, their debut LP, this week. In a more egalitarian arrangement, Kenny’s enlisted several collaborators, including songwriter Ola Podrida, film composer David Wingo, guitarist Leslie Sisson (who also played with AmAnSet), and drummer Michael Bell (Lymbic System).
The results retain some of the sonic signature of Kenny’s previous work; indeed, leadoff songs “False Alarm” and “The Other One” would be right at home on an AmAnSet release. “Bad” pits gritty strumming against angelic-hued vocals: a juxtaposition reminiscent of the vibe frequently found on releases by their label mates Death Cab for Cutie.
But generally speaking, the Wooden Birds skew a bit closer to the alt-folk genre. Devotees of Iron &Wine are apt to enjoy the part-singing accompanied by acoustic guitars on ballads such as the winsome “Quit You Once” and gently bluesy “Anna Paula;” Meanwhile, “Seven Seventeen” mixes the best of these folksy trappings with a honeyed hook and chorus that may well be the indie pop serenade of the summer.