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Recording:
 

Frozen Trees

 
 
Artist:
 

Wing and Hollow

 
 
Label:
  self-released  
 
Release Date:
 

5.October.2010

 
 
Reviewed by:
  PostLibyan  
         
 
Rating:
   
         
 
Review:
 

Wing and Hollow are a two-piece folk-ish act from the LA area consisting of guitarist Haven and vocalist Jill, a couple whose last name is Lamoureux. Both are really talented at what they do, and Haven's delicate yet complex guitar style combines nicely with Jill's rich, full voice. They add in other instruments, so it's not just guitar and voice. In fact, i would bet that people who liked 10,000 Maniacs, The Sundays, and/or Mazzy Star will enjoy this. There is a hint of those bands in what Wing and Hollow are doing.

The EP starts on a high note with Frozen Trees, a slow tune of brushed drumming, delicate picked guitar, and Jill half speaking her lines. Then, on the chorus, the drums pick up, the guitar becomes more forceful, and Jill wails away, really channeling Harriet Wheeler.

The next song, Shadowman sounds very radio-friendly to me. It is poppy, with full on drumming behind Haven's picked, echoing guitar. This almost reminds me of the more minimal moments of Cowboy Junkies. However, on the chorus when Haven strums away, there is some kind of effect applied to Jill's voice. The effect is totally out of place, and in fact makes the song suddenly seem "over produced".

Sadly, the next two songs carry on the trend of over-production. Martyr is similar to Frozen Trees, only with lots of effects applied to the voice on the chorus. Haven's guitar part on the rest of the song is great, a frenetic picking that is accompanied by light drumming and subtle pedal steel, but, when the chorus picks up, there is echo on the voice and on both the acoustic and the pedal steel guitars. I am not normally one to complain about too much echo, but it is fully unnecessary here.

Lock It Away adds harmonica and some clattering percussion to the general overall slickness of the past few songs. In the end, these add nothing. So It Seems adds a bass to the mix, which is actually pretty nice.

On Goes the Air is almost stripped down to just Haven and Jill, him picking a slow, sparse melody while she wails the blues. This is really lovely... until the chorus comes in and bongos, pedal steel, and more junk is added. To Believe is exactly the same, a nice folkish song that showcases her voice and his guitarwork, then suddenly there is pedal steel and vocal distortion. Ugh.

Fortunately the last song on the record is not like that. It is called Evil Needs, and there is a certain natural echo to the song that sounds almost ... live. This is an old bluesy song, and Haven and Jill do it very well, as a couple with the last name Lamoureux should. Stripped down like this, Wing and Hollow are very engaging. The very sad thing is that there are hints of this in all of the other songs, but for some reason that i cannot begin to fathom, the band chose to layer additional, superfluous, instrumentation on top of what they are doing.

And that, ultimately, is my problem here. I like Haven's guitarwork, and i love Jill's voice, but there is so much manipulation done to the recordings that it distracts from my enjoyment. At its heart, this is simple music, and with such talented performers, it needed a simple and very minimal production. They probably would have been better off recording live than in the studio.

Now, they sent me this as an MP3 download (which was itself a comedy of errors as Haven is apparently not the most computer literate guitarist out there), so i donít know all the details of the record. However, whoever is responsible for the overproduction on this record, for layering these simple and pretty songs under all the layers of junk that is on this record .... that person needs to be found, dragged into the streets, and beaten with old Sebadoh records until they learn their lesson! Not everything needs to have effects and layers of distortion added to it. Sometimes you just need to let the music and the players speak for themselves.

Listening to this, i would bet that Wing and Hollow are great to see live, but this record is far too flawed to capture that.

 
         
 
Related Links:
 

http://www.reverbnation.com/wingandhollow
http://www.myspace.com/wingandhollow
http://www.facebook.com/wingandhollow?sk=app_2309869772

 
         

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