The Melbourne quartet of Andrew Tanner, Ross Richard, Cam Prestipino and Leroy Cope, collectively know as The Woodland Hunters, are set to release their latest album on Friday, September 1st. Celebrating 10 years together, the band have again called on long-time friend and collaborator, Shane O’Mara to produce this, their fourth long-player, at his Yikesville Studio.
Consisting of 11 new songs, Small Mercies was borne out of the harsh 2020/2021 lock-downs that occurred in their home state of Victoria during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Back in June, we reported about the band’s release of the double-A sided singles, Golden Boy and The Arrangement, and the album well and truly lives up to the hype from that release.
The album is a fascinating mix of strength and finesse, and is heavily tinged with the guitar-laden psychedelic sound of the late 60’s and early 70’s, with the Beatlesque opening on Preservation Blues along with its’ soaring guitar solo and the Harrison-like guitar licks and tempered power of Four Great Lies being prime examples of how the band pay homage to their lysergic forebears.
Elsewhere on the album, we are treated to some slightly more up-tempo rockers, with the twin-guitar attack on the barn-storming Enough Damage and the fuzzed-up drive of Monochrome taking us into the early 70’s with leanings into some of the power-pop of the early glam era. The fuzz doesn’t stop there, with The Year We All Disappeared sliding down a rabbit hole of gloriously groove-driven distortion.
Dreamy echo effects are also evident throughout the album, and none are more so that in both Floating World and the delightfully dreamy instrumental, Waltz.
Closing track, Get Your Head Down In It is the perfect way to finish off the album. It has a sound which takes us back to an era when love, peace and ‘flower power’ were leading qualities for the masses, yet lyrically, the song questions how the money men in our society so regularly make the decisions, and claim to speak for ‘the average Aussie’.
Far from being a total oath of fealty to yesteryear, Small Mercies sits comfortably in the definition of modern music. It’s hip, it’s groovy and the songs are slickly produced due to the wizardry of Shane O’Mara.
Front man Andrew Tanner says ‘Some of these songs were road tested pretty heavily prior to
recording while others came to life pretty much entirely within the studio during recording. I think
that diversity adds up to an interesting mixed bag of lollies this time round’.
Drummer Leroy Cope adds ‘it’s got elements of psych, folk, rock – I guess the thing with the
Woodies is we don’t start by prescribing what the song is going to be – it’s more a case of what we
all can bring to the party and enjoy the ride as the song takes shape‘.
After a decade of making music together, The Woodland Hunters continue to weave that magic, and have offered up a small masterpiece of independent Australian music, and are sounding as vital as the day they began.
To celebrate the release, the band are doing a free album launch gig at the Union Hotel in Brunswick (Melbourne) on the 14th of October at 8.00 PM
Small Mercies is out on Friday, 1st September, and can be pre-ordered on CD, vinyl or as a digital download from the band’s Bandcamp page here. The digital download will be available from 1st September, with the CD and vinyl versions available from the album launch onwards on October 14th.
Feature image: As supplied