Now Hear This: The Wooden Birds – Two Matchsticks
Listening to the Wooden Birds makes me want to climb trees, take a walk down a dirt road surrounded by mint fields, play in the mud, and then retire for an afternoon nap. Their last record, Magnolia, was on my shortlist long after it was released in 2009. The folk-ish collection of melodic, dreamy tracks was perfectly executed under American Analog Set frontman Andrew Kenny’s gentle, rolling vocals, and (despite being recorded in NYC) had a distinct atmospheric twinge of the Deep South. So perhaps it goes without saying that I’ve been looking forward to the band’s next release, Two Matchsticks (Barsuk), which was released this week.
After spending a few years in Brooklyn (Jesus, Brooklyn. It’s on like Donkey Kong, seriously), Kenny returned to his home state of Texas and joined up with Matt Pond, Leslie Sisson, and Sean Haskins to record in Austin. This album, like its predecessor, is entirely drum-free and cruisy with dashes and dollops of indie goodness. Overall the sound is more expansive and layered yet still oozes with acoustic, country-tinged charm. The lolling “Warm to the Blade,” features Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard as a guest vocalist; the album’s title track pulses with rhythmic slides and Kenny and Sisson’s yin-and-yang vocal harmonies. The vibe is whimsical and ripe with reverie — it has the power to transport you to a place where there are no deadlines to meet, trains to catch, or appointments to make. Easy. Relaxing. Sort of like playing with kittens or beating Super Mario Brothers on the original NES.
The Wooden Birds will play Great Scott on July 12, $9, 1222 Commonwealth Ave.,617-566-9014, greatscottboston.com.