Woodhands – Remorsecapade

February 18th, 2010 by Eric Loose

Look at that futuristic spider-monster blasting away at the western wild horses with a glimmering, flawless rainbow in the background. You heard me… look at it! So epic… and I can’t tell if the album cover has nothing to do with Woodhands’ album, or if it has everything to do with Remorsecapade. I honestly did a triple-take when I saw the names of the duo that created this synth and drums mish-mash. Ever heard of The Rural Alberta Advantage, the folky indie-rock band from Canada? Their drummer, Paul Banwatt, joined synth specialist Dan Werb to create an unlikely duo of electro-pop funkiness- Woodhands. This interesting combination led me to believe that Remorsecapade would be… well, interesting, to say the least.

Believe it or not, but I was pretty damn right. Woodhands’ brand of electro-pop is funky and different. Banwatt’s beats are certainly prominent, consistent, and provide a nice backdrop. He delivers precise rapid-fire high-hats, and there are definitely a few synth lines that shouldn’t be taken for granted, namely “CP24” and “SLUTS!” Knowing the drummer only for his involvement with the forlorn and rural-rockers The RAA, I was sufficiently surprised upon learning it was he behind this fun album. His partner in crime carries a slightly more protruding position in Woodhands – the man behind the vocals. Monotonous and sung through a vocoder, I was immediately reminded of a band I’ve always held in very low esteem- The Hollywood Undead. You stopped reading, didn’t you? Well in case you didn’t, please don’t judge him too harshly by this comparison. Werb brings an excessive amount of energy to Woodhands, turning it up to 11, as Nigel Tufnel of “Spinal Tap” would exclaim. Like many of the qualities on Remorsecapade, though, it’s a bit of a two-sided coin. Werb would have been much better off had he incorporated the vocoder less frequently. At times, Woodhands comes across as far too over-produced. The music is certainly catchy enough, but it’s the monotonous droll and jittery yelps (i.e. “Coolchazine”) that are going to determine whether you enjoy Remorsecapade or despise it.

The duo differentiate themselves with what I feel is an underestimated factor in similar acts- pure energy. Woodhands refuse to blend into obscurity track after track, whether it’s an undeniable shift of energy like in “I Want To Be Together” or incorporating female vocals in “Dissembler.” While Woodhands aren’t competing with M83 or Cut Copy for electro-pop dominance, they make it sound like that’s not their aim. Rather, the Woodhands duo create a delightful (if ephemeral) album in Remorsecapade, don’t take themselves nearly as seriously as we expect our artists to, and have a pretty epic cover in case you haven’t noticed. I’d say those are all pretty fine achievements within themselves.

Overall Grade: 3/5

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