The Wooden Birds

SXSW showcase reviews

Live Shots
Photo by Aubrey Edwards

The Wooden Birds

The Parish, March 21

Turning repeatedly to his band between songs, Andrew Kenny offered soft encouragement – "That was pretty good guys" – as if surprised at the tightness of the mellow sound rolling behind him. There was little surprising about the Wooden Birds, however, as the quintet couched comfortably familiar in Kenny's gentle voice and heavy-lidded, narcotic rhythms. While the recently returned Austinite's new project recalls his American Analog Set, even to the point of delivering AAS' "Aaron and Maria," and at times shaded his recent support of Ola Podrida on songs like "Never Know," Kenny's songwriting remains mesmerizing and cut with a twisted sense of nostalgia. There is tenuous balance between the Wooden Birds' lulling pull and the songs' lyrical push of disillusion, the traps of memory stretched across opener "Sugar" and the odd skew on love of "Seven Seventeen," the band's melodic somnambulism invoking dreamscapes of reflective disappointment and possibilities. The female harmonies on "The Other One" and the somewhat heavier "Anna Paula" added an echoing depth to Kenny's languid delivery, while the low guitar chime of "Believe in Love" rippled through the room. Finishing the set with the closer from upcoming debut Magnolia, "Bad," left the imprint of its calm repeated chorus cauterized into the night's restless regrets. While the Wooden Birds revisit familiar terrain, Kenny's returns are always stunningly fraught with an uncanny recoil of memory.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

Saturday Showcases
Saturday Showcases

March 20, 2015

Friday Showcases
Friday Showcases
Korea, Japan, Spain, Africa – see the world from single showcases

March 20, 2015

More Music Reviews
Review: Holy Wave, <i>Five of Cups</i>
Review: Holy Wave, Five of Cups
Five of Cups (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Sept. 1, 2023

Review: The Bright Light Social Hour, <i>Emergency Leisure</i>
Review: The Bright Light Social Hour, Emergency Leisure
Emergency Leisure (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Aug. 4, 2023

More by Doug Freeman
The Austin Music Awards, a Black Rock Maverick, and More Crucial Concerts
The Austin Music Awards, a Black Rock Maverick, and More Crucial Concerts
Our recommended shows for the week ahead

Feb. 23, 2024

Back in Austin, the Ameripolitan Awards Define a Musical Spirit
Back in Austin, the Ameripolitan Awards Define a Musical Spirit
Show's 10th anniversary return uplifts largely outsider roots sounds

Feb. 19, 2024


The Wooden Birds, Wooden Birds, The

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle