The Wooden Box Band: Far Far Away (woodenboxbandmusic.com)

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Pitchfork
The Wooden Box Band: Far Far Away (woodenboxbandmusic.com)

Formerly Paddy Burgin and the Wooden Box Band but now projecting the new band members and allowing Wellington guitar-maker Burgin to step back a little, this small ensemble recorded these 10 originals at Lee Prebble's Surgery studio. This is dialed down folk (trumpet, violin, mandolin, lap steel etc) where there sheer pleasure is evident in material like the softly jaunty but lyrically pointed Soap and Cigarettes, the train-track clack rhythm of Pitchfork (kinda menacing words however) and Jackhammer which reaches right back to pre-Dylan folk.

Henry Rider about a working man seems timeless: “I built our shack in the Chinese quarter, work for me was on the water, many storms are written on my face”.

These aren't songs which toss out cliches but are often heavily weighted as on Ambulance: “Look at us calling for an ambulance again, it's four in the morning and the tears are falling my friend . . .”

The lovely Eden Street is a snapshot of a life where “houses stare through tired blinds at child brides at washing lines . . . we're paper bags on different trains, to the horizon seeking asylum. Eastward of Eden Street the ocean's rolling, breathing in and out regardless . . .”

Burgin and his band seem modest about this album, but there's nothing to be modest about. It is folk by aural definition but alludes to stories and characters which go beyond the song's duration.

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