Woodenbox have missed a trick with their third album Foreign Organ. This album should have been released in February or March as it is made for Spring. The wistful nature of the music and lyrics would have been perfect when the world, as a whole, is slightly more reflective and looking forward to the good weather, and hopefully, times to come. Whereas now, spring has sprung and the metamorphous of the seasons has happened, we are now, on a whole, wanting to hear something more anthemic.
This isn’t to say that ‘Foreign Organ’ is a bad album, far from it; there is plenty to get involved with and to enjoy. Opening track ‘Somewhere New’ sets the scene well. It’s intricate piano and wind instruments work well to create a feeling of positive melancholy, if a thing exists. ‘Life Decays’ jaunty riff and spring in the step vibe moves along nicely until the slight explosion of feedback and horns. Sadly after this initial burst the song doesn’t really go anywhere. ‘A9 North’ is a beautiful narrative, that’s imagery makes you feel you are in the car with Ali Downer and co. The stand-out track has to be ‘Rust’. Faux mariachi horns mix perfectly with an indie folk sensibility and the middle 8 shows what ‘Woodenbox’ are capable of. It’s a shame that they waited so long to show us.
Ultimately ‘Foreign Organ’ is a well-played and written album, it just lacks any continued spark to keep the listener interested. There is also a lack of variation which means you’re checking to see where you are in the album and how much is left. Downer’s Damon Albarn-esque monotone vocals does grate at certain points, most notably final track ‘Scotland’. Hopefully ‘Woodenbox’ will return with an album that not only shows off their level of musical proficiency, but their ability to tell a tales as engaging as they hint at.
‘Foreign Organ’ is out now on Olive Grove Records
You can see ‘Woodenbox’ live at one of the following venues…