December 13, 2002

Woodbine "S/T"

Electronic folk is a genre that's been waiting for the birth of a real genius, someone who will define and polarize the scene. Sure, there have been some really great records in the genre, but there's really not been anyone to create an overwhelmingly beautiful work of art, one that would be the standard that others would look up to.
Woodbine's not going to be the one to pull the sword out of this particular stone, but they do come rather close.

Woodbine make a quiet racket--a racket so faint, you'd not even notice that it was there. Melodies are treated with the utmost of care, and the vocals are so precious that you would fear that if their intensity were to go anywhere above "delicate," then everything would just be--wrong. You almost think that they're too soft to exist in a hard, cold world. If ever a band could say that they make Mazzy Star sound like Black Flag, it would have to be Woodbine.

Woodbine do, however, make an interesting psych-rock blend, and at times they sound like Edith Frost. Throw in the fact that this record--made several years ago but just now seeing release--was made with Royal Trux's gruesome twosome, Adam and Eve, and you'd be right to think that they're more psych than folk, and are a bit more subversive than they're letting on. Songs wander around on a plane that's somewhat disturbing and somewhat dark. In fact, there's a blues element here that's also interesting, and would be more interesting if it didn't seem so flat. Really, though--there's a problem here, and that is too many ideas. I can't really seem to get a good feel as to who Woodbine are, or what it is they're trying to do, becuase, a. they're really quiet, and b., they're playing around with different styles here, but done so quietly, you really can't tell what it is they're trying to do! Frustrating.

I won't say I'm disappointed by Woodbine. Instead, I will say that I hear a lot of original ideas on here--such as "Outer Circle" that, given time, might make Woodbine a potent force to deal with. Woodbine are a talented group, and that's obvious, but there's just something not cohesive about the goings on here to really make a definitive statement. When they're on, such as "Mound of Venus," they're really good. Woodbine needed to stay in the oven a little longer.

--Joseph Kyle

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