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The Archers: These Wicked Woods

Anyone looking for the secret ingredient in maple syrup might want to check these guys out, as, once you boil their music down, it’s pretty sweet.

The Archers

These Wicked Woods

Label: Self-released
US Release Date: 2014-04-15
UK Release Date: 2014-04-15

First off, this band from Victoria, British Columbia, shouldn’t be confused with the American contemporary Christian music group of the same name that rose to prominence during the ‘70s. These Archers are a group that defies easy categorization. They’re rock, and yet they’re not. They’re folk, and yet they are not. Instead, the Archers make music at the intersection of those strands, and their debut full-length album, These Wicked Woods, is a confident and mature set of songs -- not bad for an outfit that graduated from high school a few years ago. Already, the Archers have some low-level buzz: they have won emerging artist awards from west coast magazines and newspapers, and, according to the publicist, several sources noted that this was a band to see at this year’s Canadian Music Week industry conference and musical festival. So the Archers have their bow aimed fairly high, and These Wicked Woods is assured. In fact, the most pleasurable thing about it is that it can rock out, but it also doesn’t forget to bring lilting melodies to the table. And it’s evident that these guys are working on developing a signature sound: you listen to this and can’t pick out an identifiable influence.

Well, almost. The song “Things Better Left Unsaid” nicks a bit of lyric from the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”. And the spoken word track “Leaves of Grass (Verse 32)” recalls a trick done previously on the Waterboys’ Fisherman’s Blues. Still, These Wicked Woods is largely a triumph, moving from strength to strength, which is astounding considering the relative young age of these musicians. Opening with the album’s title track, which is sung in harmony and almost completely a cappella, the disc then moves into sweet folk-inflected rock and roll with “Consequences”. Essentially, there’s nothing that’s really duff here, and the album works as just that: an album. This is a great indie rock record, and showcases nearly the best of what Canadian music has to offer. As an added plus, I’m told that this group is popular with the ladies, though I have to wonder if the band’s sound, being folk influenced, makes them female friendly, rather than their image. Regardless, anyone looking for the secret ingredient in maple syrup might want to check these guys out, as, once you boil their music down, it’s pretty sweet.


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