The Wooden Sky - Swimming in Strange Waters

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:7 Release Date:2017-04-07

For their fifth album in eight years Canadian band, The Wooden Sky have come upon with a title that might sound familiar to science-fiction aficionados - “Swimming In Strange Waters”. It is actually a quote from Frank Herbert’s Dune, and the title song which opens the album sounds like a well-done cross between Big Star and Flamin’ Groovies. “Life Is Pain, Pain Is Beauty” continues in the same vein, but also shows that The Wooden Sky” know their way with good lyrics. A heady start.

The band actually keep on ticking the right boxes as far as the namechecking goes, throughout the album. As the band said themselves,“You’re Not Alone” is supposed to channel Fleetwood Mac and Jim O’Rourke. Don’t know about O’Rourke, but Fleetwood Mac is definitely there (a compliment), seen through the eyes of a band like War On Drugs. “Black Gold”, and “Riding On The Wind” two of the best tracks on the album, swings in that direction too.

The band keeps on coming up with good references throughout - “Deadhorse Creek” harks to their good-sounding countrymen The Sadies. “Matter Of Time” brings to mind Bruce Cockburn, another Canadian, and “Glory Hallelujah” with an excellent arrangement finally sounds like… well, I guess, The Wooden Sky.

So all the names checked are great, so are the lyrics, musicianship, and vocals never falter. In the end, what do we get? We get a solid album a lot of listeners who do take that first listen will go back to once in a while. The lyrical vision is there, but The Wooden Sky just need to take that one more step in making their musical vision fully cohesive, the one that will take them from good to very good, or even higher.

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