WOODPECKER WOOLIAMS – The Bird School of Being Human (CD Robot Elephant Records)
Now this is one fine record. When listening to the first track on ‘The Bird School of Being Human’, I would have sworn that this was new work from Joanna Newsom. How wrong one can be became clear when listening to the rest of the disk. The amount of variation musically, both thematically and stylistically is almost overwhelming, whilst never being out of balance. Woodpecker Wooliams brings us a dazzling cocktail of anger, love, lust, frustration, tenderness but above all lots of fun. She sometimes sounds like a tormented schoolgirl, listen to Red Kite. She’s coming of age on Gull and the next moment she’s spitting out anger and frustration on the fantastic Sparrow, on which she’s by the way easily outperforming the best UK ladies pop. Of all the songs on The Bird School, Hummingbird is the track that finds itself deeply connected with the great outdoors, whilst at the same time also sounding as urban as can be.
Woodpecker Wooliams aka Gemma Williams left Brighton some years ago only to find herself back in rural Devon playing harp. This is folk in Albion’s best tradition and Williams doesn’t necessarily give a new twist to it. She’s more proving that it can be super cool to release a record like this. PvdG