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Portland trio, The Woolen Men, crashed into the indie rock atmosphere back in 2013 on their S/T LP. Tracks like “Head on the Ground” harked back to the good ol’ American days of college rock and Midwestern blister pop. Despite the exquisite “Walking Out”, 2014’s Quick Trips EP left The Woolen Men sounding largely disentranced. Delightedly, that hasn’t stopped them from gettin’ back in the game with Rain Shapes – one of the finest EP’s by ANY rock band anywhere this year.
“Rain” opens with a superb pop riff played by bare acoustic and electric guitar. The unadorned guitars and arrangement set the scene (and the bar) for the entire set of songs on Rain Shapes. With the acoustic strumming up front, simple vocals/harmonies, and that harmonica solo in tow, you’d be hard pressed to find a track more instantly classic than “Rain.”
“X Marks the Spot” follows suit with the acoustic leading the charge. The WM sound more at home in this folky setting where flashes of 90’s guitar squall can happen at any/all appropriate times. “No Deal” is another stellar single from a stand out collection. Proving their mastery of the short form pop song, the tune is over before you know it, but it doesn’t take away from its accessibility or make it any less directly identifiable.
These songs are serious proof that The Woolen Men are not only capable of writing great songs but are also capable of making a classic. Rain Shapes IS that classic.
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