Woodpecker Wooliams

The Bird School of Being Human

by David Maine

27 February 2013

 

A strange but strangely compelling record

cover art

Woodpecker Wooliams

The Bird School of Being Human

(Robot Ekephant Records)
US: 10 Sep 2012
UK: 10 Sep 2012

This odd but strangely compelling little record is a seven-song cycle that relies heavily on bird imagery to convey its themes of… well, I don’t really know what. Opener “Red Kite (Prelude)” utilizes plucked harp and quavery little-girl vocals to create a dreamy soundscape that gradually builds into something foreboding courtesy of layered synths and rumbling undertones of percussion (or possibly thunder). As the record goes on, the tunes become busier and louder; the techno-fuzz of “Sparrow” is so layered as to lend its source material—it seems to contain references to Dolly Parton’s “Little Sparrow”—all but unrecognizable. “Magpie” brings us back to acoustic-strumming territory, before “Crow” delivers us to a feedback-laden fuzzscape. Through it all, those little-girl vocals act as our guide, the one constant in these endlessly shifting sonic sands.  Definitely an oddball record, then—but in a good way.

The Bird School of Being Human

Rating:

 

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.

 


//comments
//Mixed media
//Blogs

20 Questions: Nashville Singer-Songwriter Natalie Hemby

// Sound Affects

"Natalie Hemby's Puxico is a standout debut from a songwriter who has been behind the scenes for over a decade.

READ the article