Woodpigeon is more than just the most beautiful word in the English language, although that’s precisely why it was chosen by songwriter Mark Hamilton as the moniker for his pretty-pretty-pop project. Encompassing a kind of ersatz collective orchestra, dispersed across a couple continents, rising and falling in number with the demands of song life and real life, Woodpigeon creates music much the same way a bowerbird crafts a lovenest: the right space is chosen and the bower goes up twig by twig, berry by berry, embellishing a basic construction that’s already sound and lovely.
Occasionally, when all goes well, a mate is attracted.
Woodpigeon’s preferred habitat is slightly spooky places (friendly ghosts only) with natural reverb, with nearby vintage mellotrons and echoing stairwells, and perhaps a gaggle of singing children when feeling maudlin. They rock out on harpsichords and wrench tears out of guitars before playing them damp. Bells, whistles, handclaps – all the aural tchotchkes are enlisted to serve the song, wherever they can brighten a melody or limn a mournful line. Girlish voices become instruments, while Mark’s lonely choirboy vocals – somehow, impossibly, lodged in a lumberjack-ish bear of a man – sound uncannily like they’re being sung directly into your ear. You can almost feel his warm minty breath.
Mark mostly sings about the Unbearable Mark-ness of Being: secret love ninjas, imaginary segregated private schools, stolen kisses, confounded passion, windy days and city streets, thoughtful walking, the kind of longing that is wonderful, and the kind of longing that is sorrowful. He pushes aside the fabric of reality to create a fantastic musical realm where truth is found in fiction, and fiction is found in song.
Long live music. Long live Woodpigeon.