By Brock ThiessenIn Woodhands’ brief history, they’ve been called a lot: sensual, groin-based, the "two-headed indie Timberlake.” All warranted, all with good reason. One fiery live show at a time, the Toronto-based robo-pop duo has earned a reputation for encompassing all things sexual — something they fully embrace on their new full-length, Heart Attack.
"There’s something raw and physical in the music we play, and I think that comes off, in some ways, as sexual,” says drummer Paul Banwatt. "But we are definitely not trying to make brainless dance music.”
Heart Attack’s lovesexy electro jams are anything but dim-witted dance-floor fodder. With keytar in hand, vocalist Dan Werb and his yelping Prince-like delivery lead Banwatt’s frantic live-kit rhythms into a raw intensity rarely heard in electronic music. It’s an intense real-time approach that hits hard and gives a whole new meaning to the term "bangin’.”
"With the album, we just wanted that immediacy of emotion and that urgency of not being able to hold something in,” Werb says. "Just that sense of ‘this has to be expressed’ — there is no holding back.”
These balls-to-the-wall tactics are a far cry from the chilled-out IDM-styled compositions of Woodhands’ infancy in Vancouver, where Werb was the only constant among a revolving cast of players. Only with the occasional slow jam does Heart Attack ever hint at this more cerebral, pre-Banwatt past.
"Paul’s entry into the band coincided with personal and emotional turmoil on my end that became a new kind of on-stage persona in the way of looking at music and performance,” Werb explains. "I used to sit behind a Rhodes, and play and sing and wouldn’t move at all. When Paul came and I switched to a keytar, that’s when I was really able to be a front-man. But is it the altar of my phallic energy? Let’s say not intentionally.”