Woodbine | WIG151 | Released: 11/04/05
Recalling the spectral and claustrophobic worlds of Big Star Third or Chris Bell's I Am the Cosmos, as much as Sandy Denny, and Mazzy Star, Woodbine's music is understated, obsessive, immaculate and dreamlike all the same. The presentation of the songs is often sparse to the point of nudity. Never is a note (however imperfect) out of place. The joining together of Susan's and Graeme's voices is always deliberate, uncrowded, imperfectly "right on". Having enlisted the genius mixing skills of Royal Trux's Adam and Eve for their debut, the band have now made their mighty sophomore LP with Mark Coyle at the controls.
Recorded at Foel Studio, in Wales, a haven for the stranger sounds of British rock - the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Young Marble Giants, Scritti Politti and the Fall have all captured their sounds there. Famous for engineering the Happy Mondays live shows, nailing Oasis' debut, and producing Michael Head and The Strands (Shack), Coyle has captured the band's narcotic bliss just right. When Graeme sings "Maybe too late for that", elusively, on "Drink Drive", you wonder whether he is answering the questions of time implicit in the album's title - answering them with more open-ended, questioning phrases' Whatever the score, the band have come together to make another series of shattered masterstrokes, hypnotic, possessive, and deep under your skin after one listen. When Smog once sang, "It's not gonna be a Hit / So why even bother with it?" he may well have been spitting sarcastically about Woodbine. Take another listen, enjoy the thrill Best Before End is a genuine hit.