KRIS WOODBIRD – Monsters Of Heart (Mess Productions MESS116)

Monsters Of HeartKnown to friends and family as Krister Svensson, Woodbird hails from southern Sweden and is currently based out of Stockholm, arriving at his indie folk singer-songwriter incarnation by way of punk and electronica. His Facebook page talks about him as a mix of Bonnie Prince Billy, Jason Molina and Bon Iver singing from within a dream and his music the voice of forests and soil. Yes, I know. But, get past this meaningless PR fluff and you’ll find an artist worth your attention. Monsters Of Heart  keeps things simple, just him and acoustic guitar on campfire fingerpicked and strummed melodies and he has an attractive trebly falsetto that has the right effective touch of emotional quiver on something like the reflective ‘Hand To Hand Time’, the circling Paul Simon-esque ‘Holding The Bridge’ and the warm title track opener. That said, he’s not quite as assured when he goes for the high notes, a shakiness that may induce a slight wince on otherwise affecting and confessional numbers like ‘The Women In Me’ and the self-critical ‘The Worst Man In The World’.

That aside, and the fact it tends to stick to pretty much the same note and shade throughout, it does worm its way inside your head, ‘Sombrero Fallout’, coming across like Neil Young borrowing the do do de doos from ‘Walk On The Wild Side’, and dreamily wistful love song ‘Millie’ which ably supports one reviewer’s comparison to Elliot Smith. He’s an acquired taste, but if the lo-fi intimacy of those aforementioned singing within the dream appeals, the so may this.

Mike Davies

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