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.
When Woodhands released Heart Attack in 2008, their ferocious dance party was a modest worldwide success, and it also happened to blend seamlessly with the city’s indie rock ilk. Odd considering its hard, mechanized sound, but not odd when you realize the sweat that goes into real instrumentation: the drums are live and the rest of the sounds are created manually on a variety of keys and knobs. On Remorsecapade, their sophomore release out today on Paper Bag Records, things stay DIY-friendly while they get harder and darker as the duo regroup to deal with some shit normally reserved for more typically brooding acoustic brethren.
Loading the top half of Remorsecapade with the most accessible examples of frontman Dan Werb and tireless drummer (both stylistically and literally—has he stopped touring in this band, or his other, ever?) Paul Banwatt’s hedo-bratty dance formula works for momentum and it also gives the meatier tracks in the bottom a shadowy hiding place. Where album opener “Pockets” is all familiar-and-straightforward staccato synths, later bombshells such as “Coolchazine” and “I Should Have Gone With My Friends” get heavy, a scathing digital-nerdcore soundscape washing over an unhinged Werb as he Atari-Teenage-Riots his brain out. The lads step back from the edge for the saccharine pop of “Dissembler” and the hyper dub-bop of “When the Party is Over” (streaming above) before crooning through “I Want to Be Together,” a blatant electro ballad that recaps the escapades that pull two people apart and the remorse (and, sometimes, the hope) of the end. Werb wraps up with a lesson in “How to Survive a Remorsecapade,” repeating his simple mantra, “at least you’re feeling,” bringing to attention that as simple as it is, it’s not always a given.
Whether you like it for hard partying or to appreciate the impressive scope these two cover with limited means, Werb and Banwatt’s character is ultimately what fuels Woodhands’ cross-genre appeal. At its core Remorsecapade boils like this duo’s restless young blood, but it knows the social value of keeping up appearances.