Thursday, August 4, 2011

On Repeat: The Rosebuds - Woods

For a band opening for Bon Iver this summer, The Rosebuds sure pack a whallop. A husband and wife duo turned divorcees on their 5th studio release, lead single "Woods" contains the freewheeling energy of another North Carolina group and personal favorite, The Love Language. In fact, to the untrained ear, Ivan Howard's wail sounds uncannily like Stu McLamb's, and Missy Thangs could just as easily be the one pounding on the toy piano in place of Kelly Crisp. Maybe that's why I like them so much. So much is made these days of how "lo-fi" bands can get their sound, whether by scuzzing out the guitar or burying the vocals deep into the mix, but if the emotion isn't there to round things out, things sound hollow and forgettable. I can't seem to get into bands like No Age or Times New Viking for this reason. The Rosebuds are smart enough to strike a balance.

Lyrically, "Woods" isn't as bright and shiny as it sounds, but I guess that's to be expected from a song that rises amidst a divorce. Several lines sound like insults hurled down the stairs or across a room, Howard exclaiming "you can't burn what's already on fire" one moment, and realizing "there's nowhere to hide" the next. In these tiny glimpses, the song magnifies the steady unraveling of a relationship as astutely as tour-mate Bon Iver himself did on the devastating "Skinny Love", albeit in a more audacious package.

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