Wooden Dinosaur | Spaces | Album Review
Released: Feb. 7, 2012
Michael Roberts leads the vocals on this mellow, yet edgy collection of folk image songs. Katie Trautz supports with harmonies and soft accents as the songs require. If you put this album into your sound system, you will swear you've heard it before. It is like a comfortable pair of jeans and seems to fit into any mood of the day. There are surprises in this group of musings. They come in the way of lyrics, purposefully flat notes and the occasional trumpet that just soars.
"Good Winter" starts out with the bare trumpet, adding guitar, descriptive words we view like photos, and finishes with harmonies supported by full production. "The Haunted" lead by Katie Trautz is, in my opinion, the centerpiece of this album. This is similar to the new genre, 'slow core' that is difficult to do without losing the listener. The adding of instruments build layers within the song without burying it. Wooden Dinosaur keeps a steady stepwise progression that stays with you, which is exactly what specters are supposed to do.
"I Shot A Gun" had some quirky unexpected lyrics. The country vibe takes you off guard as you follow the mellow track along the bold images. What will the Wooden Dinosaurs say next ? "Day After Blues" has a contemporary sound. I don't like folk music unless it has an edge. I loved the guitar work on "Spaces" and the entry of Roberts' voice. His tone has an historic feel to it.
Michael Roberts plays as a guest musician with David Wax Museum. I was very impressed with his ability to create a grounded sound with a broad spectrum of musicians. "Feels Just Like Home" seemed like a pick similar to the spunk that David Wax has brought to the road lately.
This record is a summary of how a group of talented musicians can navigate and collaborate the complicated world of new music to come up with pieces which are entertaining and fresh, yet soulful in their content. The vocals both alone and in harmony lay the foundation for solid folk mastery, and the broad range of instruments played on this album keep the music interesting. The songs here peak the curiosity of the listener and many of the melodies linger, long after the speakers have gone quiet.
SPACES Track List.
1. Talking About Death
2. Don’t Make It Hard
3. Good Winter
4. Hey You
5. The Haunted
6. The Wash
7. I Shot A Gun
8. Day After Blues
11. Feels Like Home
Players: Michael Roberts: guitars, vocals
Katie Trautz: fiddle, banjo, vocals
Frank Roberts: drums, vocals
Jeffrey Murphy: basses, vocals
Craig Barowsky: trumpet, vocals
Lauren Barowsky: euphonium, vocals
with Asa Brosius on pedal steel guitar
"Feels Like Home" features Orion, Jonah, Jim and Eliza Murphy Greg Moore, Liza Mindemann, Owen and Ingrid Iselin, Kathy and Seth Roberts
Recorded and mixed by Ben Rogers Songs by Michael Roberts Horn, string arrangements by Craig Barowsky Mastered by Lane Gibson Artwork and Design by Shane Darwent Special thanks to Buzz Laughlin
For more information about Wooden Dinosaur click here.