The album features a variety of tasteful and restrained instrumentation. Great moments on the record coincide with sparse percussion and unconventional rhythms balanced by swooning synth or trumpets, as heard on "The Falling Tide." The tracks here are dominantly downtempo, but the occasional track such as "Canada" picks it up at just the right time. It can't be stressed enough that this album is about rhythms, and those guilty of desk-drumming will relish the variety.
An experimentalist in folk himself, producer Sandro Perri injects just enough of his personality in T R O U B L E's production to differentiate this from previous Woodpigeon works. Perri and Hamilton were careful to leave plenty of space throughout and as a result, the music breathes, never feeling overwhelming or busy. Plus, the attentive listener will detect ethereal sounds that are truly peculiar.
Ultimately, it isn't the lyrics that stand out but Hamilton's deliberate endeavour to craft intricate compositions that hold the attention of the listener. T R O U B L E is worthy of a second listen, and not only to pick up on the subtleties you missed the first time.
T R O U B L E reads like a lucid dreamscape – you sense little lines and riffs and progressions that don’t quite form a pattern, especially noticeable on “The Falling Tide.” There are seemingly inconsistent percussive sentences punctuated with odd horn arrangements that seem to be playing somewhere far off. This creates an incredibly engaging, almost jazz-borrowed, effect.
“Devasting” is like some dark surf-rock from a Berlin nightclub. The percussion is a bit steampunk, but Hamilton sings so gently and beautifully, that even words like “guts” come across melodic and sweet. The syncopation of the word “devastating” (sung as dev – a – stat – ing) is the perfect effect to recapture the listener from the more dark and dreamy sections of the song.
Hands down, the standout track of the album is “Faithful.” This is track can only be called devastatingly gorgeous. It is the rawest song on the album,and Hamilton’s vocals are at their peak to match. Hamilton’s tenor is at a honey-like quality, with haunting ooh’s and ahh’s, intense piano chords overtop of a slightly psychedelic guitar. In the emotional vocals, you can catch alternating glimpses of self-loathing, isolation, frustration, and outright depression. Featuring the repeated line “don’t be faithful when you’re not,” followed by the empathetic “it all goes spiteful / it all goes wrong / no one’s fault,” this is one of the most honest songs I’ve heard in years.
The extra details top off this exceptional album, from subtle tambourine rattles, the creative percussion throughout, the horns, and the moments of hopeful vocals. It seems as though Hamilton was completely uninhibited and this has allowed him to give us his most creative and comprehensive work yet.