It's been two years since Wool on Wolves released their debut album, and the time has been well-spent. Measures of Progress, this Edmonton band’s sophomore release, is a polished, multi-instrumental collection, with simple but meaningful lyrics and extremely memorable hooks.
This record departs somewhat from its predecessor's folk-rock aesthetic. While many tracks harken back to these roots, Wool on Wolves experiment successfully with more rock-oriented tracks like “Midnight Avenue.” Another highlight is “Francis!” a fully instrumental piece with a bright, catchy trumpet lead. On the topic of instruments, a big selling point here is the wide range of sounds Wool on Wolves has available. They bust out trumpet, cello, violin, piano, and banjo in addition to the more traditional guitar, drums, and vocals, and each instrument is clearly carefully chosen to suit the track.
“Medicine Shows” is a personal favorite. Starting with a simple acoustic riff and gradually adding drums, piano, strings, and a catchy chorus, the track quickly swells into a full, upbeat, and incredibly catchy folk-pop piece. In a way, the range of instruments and styles in this track are microcosmic of the album as a whole; if this song works for you, then the rest will almost certainly please.
Overall, this is a very cohesive album, able to explore a variety of styles without deviating from its unifying sound and atmosphere. While many of the songs could definitely work as singles, this album is best enjoyed in its uninterrupted entirety. Take a listen, you won't be disappointed.
Like what you hear? Check out Wool on Wolves live in Calgary at the Palomino on November 22 or see the rest of their tour dates here.
– Aaron Swanbergson