Tone and mood are not always one and the same, but every so often, an artist’s personal introspections and emotions align with those imposed upon the listener. The Woods We Scour by Beardogz is one such album.
Through clever turns of phrase in passing lyrics, a heavily layered, freeform sound, and unconventional vocal melodies, harmonies, and unexpected instrumental cameos, The Woods We Scour works to create a world rich in nature and wanderlust that feels like a clever escape from the real, often bleak, world.
With the albums There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, If You’re Feeling Sinister, and Fleet Foxes as a reference, The Woods We Scour falls into place as a far-reaching and satisfyingly comprehensive collection of sounds and influences serving as a backdrop to Spencer Soucy’s lyrics and vocal melodies. The recorded renditions are layered with intentionally placed instrumental breaks that are not only interesting but unexpected, and nod to the classically trained nature of each member of the band. Like a good puzzle being put together, The Woods We Scour works to make each sonic decision fit in exactly the place it belongs.
“The layering comes later as I listen to the song and find guitar licks and harmonies that I like,” says Soucy. “I know it sounds cliché, but most of my favorite guitar lines or harmonies come to me with a fluidity that I cannot explain after they’re recorded. There is definitely a ‘muse’ at work, or maybe just lots of caffeine. After that, I’ll usually take the song to the band, jam a little on it, and then we’ll add electric guitar, bass, drums, auxiliary percussion keys, trombone, and any other layers we want on the track. I think we all had a collective vision for [songs like] ‘Silver’ and most of the other tracks on the album, but we didn’t always get to our destination quickly.”
In many ways the metaphor of “not getting to a destination quickly” is a fitting one for this album as it sways, like any good wanderer, in a general direction with an ambiguous, unseen, unattained destination just beyond the horizon.
The full 12 song spread walks a slow, delicate balance between well-informed music theory and spontaneous creation that just sounds right. “Ethan, Jon, and Brian are all in college studying music, my brother Peter has arranged music for his college a cappella group, I took one semester of music theory in high school, but we rarely talk about the technical stuff that goes into writing a song,” Soucy notes. “To me at least, songwriting and a grasp of music theory don’t necessarily go hand in hand; however, we do all have some unspoken, informed understanding about where the music should go that lends itself to a sound that is halfway between feeling and calculation.”
Beardogz is comprised of songwriter Spencer Soucy on guitar and vocals; Peter Soucy, Jonathan Blanchette, Brian Rowe, and Ethan Guevremont round out the band through an array of instruments ranging from trombone to melodica. All are high school friends still connected through music.
“Playing music with my brother and old high school classmates adds such a familiar and often goofy dynamic to the band that might not exist if we hadn’t known each other for so long before starting the band,” Soucy says. “There’s a simplicity and easiness about playing music and hanging out with The Beardogz that does make me believe relationship plays a big role in music...I think the lightness that comes from playing music with friends comes through brilliantly in the songs we write and perform. We’re never trying to outshine each other. We all keenly know how our individual roles play into the group dynamic and sound.”
In January, Beardogz will be recording at Big Nice Studio in Lincoln. Keep an eye on the Beardogz Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter for upcoming show information.
Look for The Woods We Scour (mixed and mastered by Christian Murphy with cover art by Sebastian Spearman-Gauvin) on Spotify, Bandcamp, iTunes, Apple Music, or any other streaming service.