Sound Advice: If I Don't Come Home You'll Know I'm Gone by The Wooden Sky
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Sound Advice: If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone by The Wooden Sky

Every Tuesday, Torontoist scours record store shelves in search of the city’s most notable new releases and brings you the best—or sometimes just the biggest—of what we’ve heard in Sound Advice.

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We’re cheating this week; The Wooden Sky‘s sophomore effort, If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone, isn’t out via Black Box Recordings until August 25, but we’re excited about it, and there are lots of great upcoming releases to plan around. Throughout the vagrant Montreal-to-Toronto creation of this dense record of guilt, innocence, and wonders both abstract (God) and tangible (life), The Wooden Sky have bloomed into a resolute musical force who stand poised to carry the weight of much indie-rock respect.
With a polished, personally stamped blend of Wilco’s shimmery folk, a young Tom Petty’s rock, and Arcade Fire’s grandeur, IIDCHYKIG further showcases frontman Gavin Gardiner’s gift for songwriting and his passionate vision and delivery of full, consuming pieces, but the rest of the band have hit a stride of their own here, too; their already-intuitive dynamic is elevated by inspiring performances and a fierce commitment to the songs. Both bassist Andrew Wyatt and guitarist Simon Walker not only breathe personality into every instrument they touch, but they consistently find vocal harmonies that are at once natural and goose-bump inducing. Andrew Kekewich’s playful, recognizable drums and keys are as much a treat here as they were on the last Great Bloomers album, and Peter Krpan (ex-Moneen) handles the rest of the skins with a bit more aggression that completes the more raucous songs like “Angels” perfectly.
The newer, harder edge works best on the epic “Something Hiding For Us In the Night,” an unconventional first single and arresting mid-point on the album that sees Gardiner’s enviable pipes swing from vulnerable to venomous and encapsulate a good portion of the album’s permeating musical and thematic direction. The album’s only flaw is in the minor sequencing inconsistencies, particularly the abrasive “Lock and Key,” which is sandwiched jarringly between the sure-to-be beer-soaked singalong “The Late King Henry” and the gentle “Fairweather Friends,” but when you can easily skip back to the slow, sleepy “Harvest Moon”-esque opener “Oh My God,” or ahead to the dusty and heartbreaking closer “River Song One,” it’s a trivial complaint.
The Wooden Sky crosses an elusive bridge with this record, one between a very marketable package and meaning. It’s a touchstone for a band who has built its modest buzz with touring and a well-worn spot amidst some of the city’s best artists, and IIDCHYKIG has not only that launching pad, but the hooks, depth, and promise to give it—and its creators—a layered longevity.

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