The Wooden Birds
Two Matchsticks


1.5
very poor

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
June 8th, 2011 | 35 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With absolutely no variation in their sound, these Wooden Birds ring hollow.

Magnolia was a pretty big step in the right direction for The Wooden Birds, a group of acoustically gifted musicians who earned praise from Pitchfork, Spin, and The Washington Post back in 2009 for their song ‘Sugar.’ Sure, they were (and still appear to be) far from their big breakthrough, but they also seemed to be moving towards another significant progression; slowly but steadily. Their acoustic skills have shown glimpses of a band that could step up to the alternative rock/indie plate in a major way, if only they would expand their sound and open the floodgates towards a path of successful genre pioneering and career longevity. Instead, we are left with an utterly disappointing release in the drab, uninspired, and middling Two Matchsticks.

For a band that tours with the likes of Broken Social Scene and is described as possessing a “genuine alternative folk” sound, The Wooden Birds seem to lack any distinguishing characteristics on Two Matchsticks - its chord progressions and percussion are mind-numbingly repetitive, the vocals are unspectacular, and the album as a whole never seems to actually go anywhere. The majority of the songs all follow the same formula, the same song structure, and the exact same minor annoyances that after twelve songs make the album almost unlistenable. It won’t take long to notice the way that Two Matchsticks refuses to evolve – either within specific songs or between tracks – and the pitter-patter percussion is both unimaginative and omnipresent. No song evades the slow burning, mid-tempo groove that defines the atmosphere of the album. With no buildup, no climax, and no interesting little nuances or shades of experimentation, The Wooden Birds sound stale before the album even gets going.

For as stylistically unvaried as this work is, the album doesn’t even settle into a sweet spot to laze in. The band’s lack of creativity might have been slightly more forgivable if they unveiled a novel sound or some other interesting idea in which to remain stationary, but their decision to set up camp smack dab in the middle of heard-it-before indie rock clichés is both frustrating and disappointing. The title track is easily the album’s highlight, and after listening to that song once, you have essentially heard everything you need to hear because Two Matchsticks continues down the same road with a remarkable unwillingness to budge. The simple strums overlapped with some short spurts of simple but effective picking characterize everything concerning the album’s instrumental components, making a critique of the music itself an underwhelming task. There simply isn’t much going on, and the vocals, while adequate, aren’t strong enough to carry The Wooden Birds to the lofty aspirations they had for this album.

It isn’t that The Wooden Birds don’t possess the talent to make an impression. Their sound, while run-of-the-mill and monotonous, demonstrates a clear level of musicianship and technical competence that many bands lack. However, that talent will only get you so far if you don’t have a vision. Two Matchsticks is simply uninspired; it seems like a forced release aimed to appease only those with the lowest expectations for mainstream indie. The Wooden Birds can do better, and hopefully in the future they will find a direction to take their ideas instead of spinning and sputtering in place. For now, however, Two Matchsticks all but guarantees that this band will remain in the shadow of their numbered peers for even more time to come.



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user ratings (8)
2.3
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
June 9th 2011


32690 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Album Stream:

http://music.aol.com/new-releases-full-cds/spinner#/37





Digging: Low Roar - ross.

Satellite
June 9th 2011


25867 Comments


done

SowingSeason
Moderator
June 9th 2011


32690 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

thanks satty

Satellite
June 9th 2011


25867 Comments


np. good review dude.

SowingSeason
Moderator
June 9th 2011


32690 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

much appreciated. pretty unknown band (i think?) but this was an easy review to get me back in the swing of things after a week and a half off

Irving
Staff Reviewer
June 9th 2011


7502 Comments


Great review SS. Guess I should stay the hell away from this. Mind naming a few similarly sounding bands?

PS - I miss you.

SowingSeason
Moderator
June 9th 2011


32690 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

They are like American Analog, or a really boring Papercuts

Bassist540
June 9th 2011


373 Comments


Nice Review. I won't bother with these guys.

Pos'd

SowingSeason
Moderator
June 9th 2011


32690 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I always hate it when people say they won't bother with something because my review stated that I didn't like it. If you had a passing interest before, you should still give it a chance.



I know it seems absurd, but I am capable of being wrong.



But anyway, I really disliked this. It just seems like one big waste of potential.

Bassist540
June 9th 2011


373 Comments


Well that is true. I maybe should check these guys out. Not quite sure yet.

Bassist540
June 9th 2011


373 Comments


Well that is true. I maybe should check these guys out. Not quite sure yet.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
June 9th 2011


7502 Comments


I always hate it when people say they won't bother with something because my review stated that I didn't like it.

But your word is law!

I haven't had a interest in this band before to be honest, and I only gravitate towards something when it's been recommended time and time again. A Sowing neg just ensures I won't actively go hunting for it =)

Acanthus
June 9th 2011


9812 Comments


A good read, it seems that being uninspired is something that is occurring quite often nowadays, or maybe I'm just noticing it more.

North0House2
June 9th 2011


6054 Comments


"A good read, it seems that being uninspired is something that is occurring quite often nowadays, or maybe I'm just noticing it more."

I've been noticing it a lot lately too. EITS's new release was just so boring to me, among others.

Awesomesauce
June 9th 2011


1091 Comments


However, that talent will only get you so far of you don’t have a vision.


Could use a fix. Good review man, will avoid.

Polymath
June 9th 2011


3836 Comments


Yeah this album is beyond boring

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
June 9th 2011


10586 Comments


Sowing good review. You sounded beautifully unimpressed.

Polymath
June 9th 2011


3836 Comments


Every song on this sounds the same, shit and boring.

Tyrael
June 9th 2011


21113 Comments


Oh jolly, a negative Sowing review! Pos.

hrbeen
June 9th 2011


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good ear, SS. Sounds like American Analog Set becuase the lead singer is from the band. Ben Gibbard and Matt Pond also sing on the album. It's sorta mellow but I like it since I like MPPA and Death Cab and AmAnSet.



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