by Sarah Knoll
Every now and then, a release comes out that is undeniably great and deserves recognition. In this case, the band who made this wonderful release is no other than Albany, NY’s Bruiser and Bicycle, a band that is a hidden gem in the sea of indie rock and folk. Comprised of Keegan Graziane and Nick Whittemore, the two wrote an album that has complexity without large instrumentation. Something that is very hard to achieve in an era where shoegaze and pedal driven music is becoming more common. Their album Woods Come Find Me is a beautiful collection of looping vocals, acoustic and electric guitar riffs and percussion by means of two hands clapping.
The beginning track “The Train” immediately sets the tone for the album. It is bare bones in nature, as far as it not being an orchestra of instruments. However, their quirkiness in adding an electric guitar to almost mimic the locomotion of a train is very clever. Although not lyrically dense, the track has a flow to it that is whimsical and easy to listen to. “The Train” is a fun and energetic track that showcases that Woods Come Find Me isn’t going to be like Bruiser and Bicycle’s previous releases. It’s stripped back but remaining all of the cleverness that was on 2017’s You’re All Invited.
The following tracks “Casper” and “Woods” fell straight out of a colorful independent film. The band’s use of clapping as percussion and looping vocal harmonies showcase that Nick and Keegan are true musicians. Their ability to hold these multiple sounds together without them becoming muddy are what makes this album so successful. Singing about Casper the ghost, and coming to find me in the woods are what folk music is about, taking what can be seen as nonsense but then creating an inviting and atmospheric quality to their music.
One of the tracks that really strikes me is “Cove,” a leering and looping track that has one of the more ballad or dark qualities to it on the album. It reminds me of The Dodos, another band whose use of loops and simplistic instrumentation are very successful. “Cove” builds into itself in an almost ritualistic and methodical way, adding one new loop at a time. Bruiser and Bicycle clearly are a band that has deep understanding of where to strip back the sound and where to build. They’re very prolific and sophisticated songwriters that want to allow for their folk-y music to shine without it being repeated over and over again.
Overall, Woods Come Find Me in the title itself is an invitation. Their sophisticated songwriting and cleverness result in an album that truly embodies contemporary folk music. It’s whimsical and witty without becoming muddy or mundane with the lack of instrumentation that this project had on previous releases. Woods Come Find Me is an excellent listen and a breath of fresh air while we’re anticipating the warmth of spring wash over us soon.