Andrew Kenny began in music fronting Austin slowcore outfit The American Analog Set, before going solo and moving to New York, where he started The Wooden Birds in 2009 with Magnolia. Well, Kenny returns to ‘The Live Music Capitol of the World’, with a full band of Birds in tow, for follow-up Two Matchsticks, which further establishes his alt-country/folk voice.
From the sweet "Folly Club" to the sad "Long Time To Lose It", The Wooden Birds deliver an acoustic alt-country sound that will be familiar in today’s over-saturated alt-country market, but is no less for it. Still, Two Matchsticks is better when it branches out, such as the male-female duet of "Cross My Heart" (and female-sung "Baby Jeans"), or the seventies troubadour-pop of "Criminals Win" and "Too Pretty To Say Please", which are too catchy to say no to. The sadness to the opener & closer, and laid-back and knowing nature to middle piece "Company Time", elevate them as well; other times The Wooden Birds don’t invent enough, such as the country-trot to "Warm To the Blade" and "Struck By Lightning".
During his solo days, Kenny played keyboards on Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew’s Spirit If… (QRO review) and subsequent tour, but now he’s recruited his own band, include singer/songwriter Matt Pond of Matt Pond PA (QRO live review) – indeed, Kenny contributed to Pond’s own recent EP, Spring Fools (QRO review). Two Matchsticks definitely benefits from a fuller sound, but it isn’t overdone – this is still singer/songwriter alt-country. And if the record lacks something of a standout, that’s only because of its overall quality, from start to finish.
MP3 Stream: "Company Time"