Folk felicity and cosmic consciousness: Canadian quintet celebrate their 20th anniversary in style.
There’s a sublime moment near the end of this album, when five voices blend in celestial harmony of “When The Last Leaf Falls” and what could have been a paean to despondency turns out to be an ode to joie de vivre. It’s also an a cappella counterbalance to a slew of infectious instrumental pieces that cleverly dilute the record’s homespun sweetness by pouring spaced-out reveries into backwood’s daydreaming which, from “Wonders I’ve Seen” on, marries country kind of insouciance to rustic rock. Traditionally unhurried, these songs reveal hooks in the most unexpected places, so with the title track’s fiddles spinning their yarn faster and faster the listener’s bound to unravel the mystery of the melodies to revel in it all.
It may be sad, as outlined by “Wonder” flowing closer to Strauss or “Lullaby For Elephants” bidding farewell to a departed friend, yet the drift may also boil down to the tickling delicacy of “Happy Be” while the Caribbean slant which sends “Jungle Doctor” towards sun-kissed pop in a totally unpredictable turn of events. But even though the solemn folk behind “Forgotten Beech Grove” feels very natural, it’s no less adventurous, Marc Atkinson and Richard Moody’s mandolins anchoring the song to soil and, at the same time, taking the tune higher and higher, whereas “What Trouble Is” swings its roots wildly to reel the listener in. Once they’re on this trail of tails, there’s no going back: it’s that alluring.