The comforts of habit and routine are a weighty albatross hung from almost every neck. For Mark Andrew Hamilton, front man of the orchestral folk outfit Woodpigeon, that weight became chains. Somehow, a man with a voice that soars freely became sedimentary and stagnate.
Hamilton planned his escape. After bribing guards, picking locks and digging tunnels, he relocated to Vienna to find new inspiration and started a new life. As a songwriter, he still documents his life with honesty and poetic verses, but Thumbtacks and Glue (at least sonically) replicates the uncertainty and exhilaration of a fresh start. The arrangements he builds are still glorious and uplifting; strings, horns and harmonies dance lightly over gentle picks and cushion his unwavering falsetto, but Hamilton contrasts the serenity with layering, feedback and sound collages.
Life, when lived best, isn’t always pretty. Fights, fear, lust and anger all help us celebrate the rare moments of clarity and true love. Hamilton’s decision to bulk up his sound and leave those rough edges intact help Thumbtacks and Glue leave his most lasting impression to date. These confessions aren’t simply beautifully framed moments over which he obsessed and relived time and time again. They are also his raw emotions processed in real-time. Hamilton leaps bravely without sneaking even a cursory look at the water below. Thumbtacks and Glue is the mistakes we make, the risks we take. Hamilton hands us the map to find glorious treasures, but we must first bloody our finger scraping frantically through the topsoil and rocks.