Wooden Birds – Two Matchsticks

January 01, 1970





After returning home to Austin
following a brief hiatus in Brooklyn (the
environs that gave birth to Magnolia , the Wooden Birds’ low-key debut), mainstay Andrew Kenny took a strong right
turn when it came time to conceive the group’s sophomore set. A major
progression from that initial outing, it’s considerably more expressive and far
less claustrophobic by comparison, as if Kenny suddenly felt liberated just by
being back home. True, it still retains the melodic folk pop approach that’s
characterized his efforts since his stint with the American Analog Set, an Austin outfit known
primarily for their atmospheric undertow. That’s not surprising, considering the
fact that Kenny’s acoustic guitar and affable outlook still dominate the
proceedings. Yet, even so, Kenny conceived the new album with a band in mind,
and the addition of drummer Sean Haskins, singer/guitarist Leslie Sisson and
guitarist Matt Pond (who operates under his own banner as Matt Pond PA)
elevates the Wooden Bird banner beyond its somnolent origins. Sisson takes lead
vocals for “Baby Jeans,” adding her own agreeable presence to the proceedings,
while the insistent pulse of “Folly Club,” the snappy “Too Pretty To Say
Please” and the last track, “Long Time To Lose It” — which echoes its title
with an irrepressible refrain – each allow the Wooden Birds to really take


Still, it’s not like that they’ve abandoned their mellow
musings entirely; “Company Time,” “Cross My Heart” and “Warm to the Blade”
drift along almost unobtrusively, cushioned by the band’s acoustic underbelly
and some airy atmospherics. And truth be told, nowhere on the album does Kenny
indicate he’s all that anxious to really let loose. Regardless, Two Matchsticks remains quietly
disarming, more charming than challenging and still sweetly sublime.


Jeans,” “Long Time To Lose It,” “Folly Club” LEE ZIMMERMAN


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