Published Sep 17, 2014With every album they've released, the Wilderness of Manitoba have inched further out of the forest and deeper into the city. Though the outfit has always hailed from Toronto, their lo-fi folk debut, Hymns of Love and Spirits, sounded like it could have easily been, as their name implies, recorded in a remote cabin somewhere in the Prairies. By comparison, Between Colours, the group's fourth full-length, feels like it comes from a completely different band, and, in some sense, it does: Guitarist and vocalist Will Whitwham is the only remaining original member, now flanked by vocalist and violinist Amanda Balsys and bassist Wes McClintock.
The album the trio created together bears some hallmarks of past efforts — atmospheric chamber pop (the dreamy "When You Go") and haunting harmonies (any track, really) — but also ventures into uncharted indie-rock territory. In the place of tinny banjos, there are tape-delayed electric guitars; instead of a subtle, stripped-down charm, there are contagious choruses and inescapable hooks. It's loud, it's percussive and, hell, it even features a guitar solo from Rush's Alex Lifeson. Most importantly, though, the direct and unapologetic songwriting (best displayed on single "Leave Someone") is both musically and lyrically on par with, if not an improvement on, the standard set by previous albums.
With Between Colours, the Wilderness of Manitoba have proven they can craft a quality tune, regardless of whether it's best played 'round a country campfire or blasted from the back of a crowded downtown bar. (Pheromone)