Allegedly named due to the word looking like a rollercoaster when written in cursive, the eight-piece ensemble that form Woodpigeon continue to impress with their latest offering Thumbtacks and Glue, which in itself is a fairground ride of undulating dynamics and complex layering.
There is little repetition in Thumbtacks and Glue, with each song having to some degree an identity of its own. From the appropriately named title track, The Saddest Music in The World where a gradual ascent to climax is accompanied by steel and acoustic guitar, to Children Should be Seen and Not Heard, which presents a far harsher sound, and As Read in the Pine Bluff Commercial which is simple melodically yet nostalgic and endearing lyrically, Woodpigeon’s 6th studio album is both balanced and contrasting.
The use of harmony across the album is impressive, most prominently in Red Rover, Red Rover, where wispy female vocals are intertwined with experimental guitar plucking and strong drumming following a shift in tone, and Little Wings in which the two voices connect somewhat hauntingly over the view that “love causes pain”, despite the by contrast sparse instrumentation.
One of Woodpigeon’s significant triumphs on the album is Sufferin’ Suckatash. The repetition of specific phrases such as “I’ll wait’, I’ll wait, I’ll wait, I’ll wait” and the involvement of upbeat guitar riffs in the latter part of the song make for a more catchy feel than has been previously achieved. The song itself is also incredibly well orchestrated, with an eclectic blend of various sounds.
The title track, Thumbtacks and Glue provides a reflective conclusion through the use of deeply resonating brass and violin instrumentation, to what has been a collection of, on the whole, poignant songs. This is an album in which beautifully crafted and (at times) somewhat sinister lyrics are combined with gentle melodies, resulting in soft yet powerful expression from the frontman, Mark Hamilton, and the other talented instrumentalists involved.