New Music Tuesday ( Jan 26th, 2010)

26 Jan

Paper Bag Records
Since the release of their debut album, Heart Attack in 2008, Toronto’s Woodhands (consisting of Dan Werb and Paul Benwatt) have garnered publicity, audience praise, critical acclaim and made countless “best of” lists – all while maintaining the no-bullshit, badass attitude that brought them success in the first place.

Cue: Remorsecapade, the next instalment in the Woodhands saga that continues their punk rock-electro legacy, but offers a magnified look into their psyches and souls. Opening with “Pockets”, the band re-introduces themselves with the vivacity and energy equated to their live performances, announcing their presence without apology or compromise.  A thoroughly engaging electro-rock dance track (the album has clearly resulted in me making up both genres and words) it smoothly transitions into “Talk”, an energizing and catchy number that conveys both enthusiasm and confidence, making nonchalant head-bobbing and the occasional foot-tap a thing of the past. However, it’s two incredibly contrasting tracks that cement Remorsecapade as a show-stopping Canadian effort.

“CP24” reigns as the tell-tale Woodhands creation, maintaining the electro beats and punk attitude that brought the duo attention in the first place, while “Coolchazine” – though slightly abrasive and built mostly on Dan Webb’s ability to scream – showcases the band’s active rebellion against all things genre-oriented, proving their refusal to pigeon-holed.

The trend of surprise is one that has come to define the duo and continues to creep up throughout the record.  Moving from “Friends” (a track capturing the angst endured by boyfriends used only as night-out accessories) to “Dissembler” (a haunting duet with Maylee Todd) to “I Want to be Together” (a surprisingly soft and reflexive piece), the album takes listeners on a journey and works to articulate the importance of listening to records as a whole as opposed to scouting for singles.
Woodhands have come to define the fluid genre of guerrilla electro-rock by somehow making the most manufactured sounds maintain the organic feel of Canadian indie and the rawness of classic punk.  Remorsecapade is an album that challenges, argues and never backs down.  Like the band who created it, its refusal to submit to the status quo will ensure its place among music that matters while satisfying a generation defined by their craving for more.

Posted by : Anne T Donahue

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