For Paolo is both a fitting tribute to Woodpigeon's musical past and a hopeful sign of what's to come in the band's future.
Canada's Woodpigeon have been quietly releasing huge, lush folk-pop records for a few years now, and the band has kicked off 2012 by offering a new digital EP, For Paolo. Singer Mark Andrew Hamilton constructed it as an ode to the music of his childhood, the stuff he calls the "truck stop hits of the 60s". In this way, he succeeds. These songs feel like they are reaching back to the music of the late-'60s and early-'70s -- especially the folky AM-gold tunes, and giving them a subtle, effective upgrade. The band's heavily orchestrated sound is layered on here but hushed, so Hamilton's voice sounds confessional-quiet on the excellent title track or seeping through the buzzing guitars on "Are You There God? It's Me, Mark". "By Lamplight" is as threadbare as the EP gets, though backing vocals thicken and echo each other, and works as the band's most adventurous song -- atmospherics upset the basic folk structure of the tune -- and its most satisfying. The EP never works past a mid-tempo lullaby vibe, but despite its deliberate quiet, it's a cohesive and satisfying tune. The textures here thicken and complicate without bogging the songs down. For Paolo is both a fitting tribute to Hamilton's musical past and a hopeful sign of what's to come in his band's future.