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Monday, 17.09.2012, 20:20
oh what a night...
Evening Hymns
+ The Wooden Sky (CAN)
Launching their new albums with this their current tour, both Evening Hymns with «Spectral Dusk» and Wooden Sky with «Every Child A Daughter, Every Moon A Sun» are visiting us from Toronto and their joint appearance could best be called a double whammy.
Whenever there's an artistic encounter or even clash of styles, great music rises from it. Or hymns. Artist and musician Jonas Bonetta proved that point ever since he graced the scene with prohibitively beautiful music. His spectacular 2010 «Spirit Guide» assembled his friends from The Wooden Sky, Ohbijou and Timber Timbre whereas his girl Sylvie complemented his singing with her unique, fragile voice. It's a highly complex, near orchestral, even visionary spectacle. Live, everything's reduced to the essential, gaining in immediacy rather than losing anything trough simplification. Compare his to the work of Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, Son Volt and Richmond Fontaine, if you like.

Now their new «Spectral Dusk» easily pushes it all on to the next level. It's a personal work, simply evolving on an established lyrical and musical path. It was recorded in a log cabin in the out-there North of Ontario, again with close friends from The Wooden Sky, Timber Timbre and City And Color. Heartwarming sounds, melancholic yet still hopeful, it's music that lifts us up by the heartstrings straight to the vaunted, endlessly open Canadian country scape. You can hear the wind swooshing through trees, hear the snow crunch under your boots and imagine picturepostcardperfect sundowns over silvery lakes and flickering cabin fires which when sufficiently observed, carry us even further, enticing us to hot wire and alter forbidden perceptions and old realities. While they're on our stage, you'll also clearly see the fog laden Mountaincrystalsihl under a tepid midsummer night sky. Damn right you will, you hear?

Musically counterpunching is Gavin Gardiner, singer/songwriter/guitarist and his «Wooden Sky». Honed and perfected by innumerable live performances, three LP's, many more EP's and dozens of collaborations, this eternal free spirit and tireless innovator fusions country-folk-indie-rock to his standards and it all comes across as fresh and timeless. Compare them to Wilco, Okkervil and to the Flaming Lips, if you must. There’s nothing wooden about «When Lost at Sea» (2007) and «If I Don't Come Home You'll Know I'm Gone» (2009); both were and still are red hot diamonds in the rough, forever. Carbon pressed by time, rough and unpolished, these songs are jewels strung up on the necklace of tough life experiences, deep regrets, dusty roads and lost souls. And when they say 'live', they mean it and even give new meaning to it: During their legendary «Bedrooms & Backstreet Tour» they hit any house and venue there is, sucking in the energy created by this unique discourse with their fans and because of this feed, it helps them hit the nerve of time, every time. (Director Scott Cudmore filmed the tour, you can watch it on youtube.com/user/scudmore).

Their constant, tireless search for new and fresh interpretations of their songs led to the deeply refined, wonderful arrangements of their new «Every Child A Daughter, Every Moon A Son». Howard Bilerman produced, he was with Arcade Fire during «Funeral» times and is a heavy hitter himself, what with over 300 produced albums for names like Wolf Parade, British Sea Power, Basia Bulat a.o. Listen how space was left between instrumentalisations, creating ample opportunity for impressive storytelling. Responding in kind is the band: Gavin Gardiner on guitars, lead vocals and harmonica; Andrew Wyatt, bass and vocals; Simon Walker, vocals and guitar and Andrew Kekewich on percussion. They create deep atmospheric, multilayered, aesthetic sonic excursions into the darker corners of the subconscious and come back up and zoom higher with a sound that ferociously soars and turns their raw ideas into fist-pumping melodies.
Hey, all of you heavy hitters out there, com'on in for this a rare, first-rate sonic double-punch on the island. Pull a rope-a-dope and hang in our ring until you're all punched out and our and your lights go bye-bye.
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