Jessica Klymchuk, Contributor Ω
After making their silver screen debut in Safe Haven, The Deep Dark Woods emerge with their newest creative venture, Jubilee. The album comes two years after the release of The Place I Left Behind, which landed them a Juno nomination, an Americana Emerging Artist nomination and a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination.
Ryan Boldt, Chris Mason, Lucas Goetz, Geoff Hilhorst and Clayton Linthicum make up The Deep Dark Woods. Lead singer Boldt writes much of the lyrics for The Deep Dark Woods, however Mason, Burke Barlow and Linthicum also share the credit for Jubilee.
Most of the album was recorded in a cabin in the Rockies, near Bragg Creek, Alta., though the group hails from Saskatoon. A press release from Six Shooter Records says the live recording allowed for a collective and spontaneous approach. The Deep Dark Woods revisited the times of psychedelic and electric folk for Jubilee with the use of the novachord, celesta and vibraphone, all first used in the early days of psychedelic synth experimentation.
If that was the tone they were trying to set, they certainly succeeded by picking “Miles and Miles” as the opening track. The psychedelic vibe echoes through the electronic rifts and haunting softness of the vocals that seamlessly flood from one phrase to the next. Yet, the folk aspect rings clear in the rhythm, like the steady advance of a heavy train.
“18th of December” and “Picture on My Wall” both lead with an electric psychedelic sound but quickly revert to a traditional-sounding folk style, with the psychedelic falling to the background. Although, at times the psychedelic synthesizer accompanies the traditional folk in a way that makes it hard to differentiate the two.
“Red, Red Rose” introduces a lighthearted and more upbeat version, in which the vocals act as the steady train. The lyrics are a contrast to the upbeat strings and piano, with a tinge of heartbreak and regret in the narration of sorrow.
As for the track that nods to the album title, “Gonna Have a Jubilee” leaves out the psychedelic for the most part for an acoustic vibe with heavy vocals and lyrics: “My heart is on fire, the devil’s everywhere, the sun in shining but I can’t stand the glare.” Unlike other tracks, several voices join the melancholy for the chorus. The song title might mislead you into thinking it’s a cheerful tune, but you’re more likely to find that in “Bourbon Street.”
“East St. Louis” and “The Beater” have the most electronic and psychedelic prominence and likely incorporated the most experimentation.
Even with the steadiness of a train ringing in every track, each time you listen you’ll hear something new, something you missed the first time.