Woodpigeon, the Calgary Alberta band is set to release their fourth LP, Thumbtacks and Glue on February 26, and for this hardworking and well-known group, selling this should be a walk in the park. Led by Mark Andrew Hamilton, Woodpigeon is made up of collaborators, both live and in recording sessions, which incorporate Hamilton’s loops and layered vocals. In Woodpigeon’s earlier career, the band’s name was Woodpigeon Divided by Antelope Equals Squirre (quite a mouthful), and Hamilton was the lead songwriter in company with Steve Kaye and Malcolm Benzie, who later went on to put together and develop the Edinburgh-based band eagleowl. At that time, Hamilton was terrified to sing, so the band did more of a performance art style of music in the streets of Edinburgh. Hamilton felt as though this was not working out, and so back to Canada he went to start anew. Woodpigeon Divided by Antelope Equals Squirrel was shortened to just Woodpigeon, thankfully, and as Hamilton said, “the way it came together was simple; friends started hearing my songs and offering their services,” meaning that his other band mates and collaborators fell into place.
Mark Andrew Hamilton has always liked the word “Woodpigeon.” In fact, he loved it. He has noted that when you write it in cursive, it looks like a roller coaster. When you go to their Website, you can see it spelled out for yourself, and just take a moment to really look at it. The loop-de-loops would make for a fun ride. This is how it felt listening to Thumbtacks and Glue. I felt as though I was on a roller coaster, a white knuckler, a hell of a beautiful ride, and I did not want to get off. Woodpigeon knows what they are doing; they have released three studio albums, and eleven EP’s, all dating back to 2005. Woodpigeon have been around. Needless to say, it was disappointing that there were a couple of slights on the LP. It was nothing major, not at all, but “Sufferin’ Suckatash” was messy and unorganized. The chorus was cluttered and rolled over Hamilton’s voice too much. Though I like the song “Hermit,” I could not keep myself from feeling like I was listening to James Blunt, and I really did not enjoy that. I try hard not to compare singer to singer, but when it’s there, it’s there, and on this track, all I could hear was James Blunt. Barf.
However, where there was weakness, there was strength. The title track, “Thumbtacks and Glue,” is a guitar heavy, slow-burning lush melody with an electric echo that vibes through and through. Near the end, the song takes on an acoustic feel, brightening up this otherwise dark and gritty song. It’s brilliant, really - reeling in the audience and making it rain, then all of a sudden, letting the sun shine. That is great songwriting, and amazing instrumentals. “Edinburgh,” a musically diverse track has Hamilton’s voice taking on many layers and modulations. Again, I don’t like to compare singer to singer, but it was as if he was all of the BeeGee’s rolled into one articulated pitch perfect man. “Edinburgh” is a fun song and could fit into a rock opera. I attribute this to the throwback feel of electric guitar and maybe the classic drum beats. The track is a definite favorite. It was all over the place, but it played well.
Thumbtacks and Glue is sure to be a well-selling album and is guaranteed to play especially great live. Hamilton has a knack for putting together quirky, yet substantial material in all of his works. This album just adds to Woodpigeon’s tangible and copious collection.
1. The Saddest Music in the World
2. Red Rover Red Rover
3. As Read in the Pine Bluff Commercial
4. Children Should be Seen and Not Heard
5. Little Wings
6. Sufferin’ Suckatash
7. Robin Song
10. Thumbtacks and Glue