Woodhands- Heart Attack

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, November 23, 2008

Electro pop seems to be prominent all over the United States and Canada these days, with more bands popping up in the genre than ever before. One that has been making noise in Canada is Woodhands, who is yet another band that has been noted for having intense live shows. Hoping to keep that amount of energy in recorded form, the band has released their newest album Heart Attack. And while the release is a little top heavy, for the most part they have succeeded in their goal.

Right from the start, listeners are hit with a wall of energetic electro. Woodhands wastes no time in establishing fast tempos and catchy beats that are definitely danceable. And while there is plenty of melody throughout the course of Heart Attack, there are also some slightly heavier moments that make this duo just a little different from the average genre act. However, while the first half of the album is energetic the second half begins to head towards electro/shoegaze territory at times, and the compositions aren’t quite as memorable. Grouping all of the songs of this style together definitely lessens the impact of this release, and perhaps it would have been better if the group had spread things out a little bit more.

Vocalist Dan Werb helps to inject a lot of variety into his band’s music through the use of various vocal styles. When Heart Attack initially starts, his singing is spastic and a little harsh but as the album moves forward he adopts a slightly more melodic style. Though a little vocal manipulation is used from time to time, Werb seems more interested in exploring the natural nuances of his voice. This helps Woodhands to stand out, especially considering how many electro acts use vocal manipulation these days.

It is unfortunate that Heart Attack is such a top heavy album, as if it mixed up the styles from track to track instead of lumping them into halves this would be an even stronger release. But despite that, if you’re a fan of electro you will find that these Canadians have enough unique ideas to make them noteworthy. I wouldn’t necessarily put this at the top of any best of 2008 lists, but Woodhands’ latest release is still worthy of runner up status and therefore worth a listen.

http://www.paperbagrecords.com/

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