Woodpecker Wooliams looks, acts, sings and plays like Joanna Newsom discovered there’s more to life an a harp. I thought I’d say that out of the box as I think that will either make people jump for joy or sorrow depending on what camp you’re in.
The album’s seven tracks are an interesting affair. “Red Kite (Prelude)” is a beautiful introduction. Stilted whining vocal delivery over the beauty of a harp makes for anything but a boring listen. There’s a real dreamy quality to it when other instruments and sound loops start pouring in. The lyrics are quiet strangely time bound too (I saw a picture of you on facebook). The lyrics continue to make me chuckle on “Gull” with the use of “chips and beans” and “give me a damn cup of tea.” How English! “Gull” has an industrial percussion loop sounding like it was stolen from Bjork while the rest of song is harp and vocal. It’s fresh and dynamic. “Sparrow” veers way off into experimental electronica with lots of buzzing humming bass and screeching metal spears. Wooliams’ voice is removed of any depth at all sounds light, airy and spooky. It’s like 1995 indie pop all over again and I’m in heaven.
“Magpie” turns our attention to the acoustic guitar whilst in one ear there is a bending distorted echo of an electric guitar. The interplay between the whole thing really makes for an unsettling track which is initially a ballad but you can’t quiet stop it from making you shiver. “Crow” (spotting the song name pattern?) is a distorted organ/piano/industrial hum concoction. It explodes into a manic bass phaser fest for the second half of the track and reminds me of something Jordan Reyne or Soap&Skin would doand is such a far cry from the opening track. It’s also a far cry from “Dove” which returns to the trusty harp for a wonderfully lucid mysterious trek to high above the clouds. There’s a certain section in the song which really feels like you are ascending so high up into the sky – so clever. That leads us to the closer “Hummingbird” which is an aural vocal montage that feels like you really did reach the heavens. It builds and builds into a rolling march before ending too soon to blast into a frenzy.
Woodpecker Wooliams reminds me of a hodgepodge of several of my favourite artists but to just leave it there would sell her short. There’s something decidedly British about it all and the merge between the beauty of the harp and sheer rude brutality of the electronica is inspired. Have a peck! (Sorry…!)