The Good Knife aka David Cook is a musician from Massachusetts who recently released an eight-song album entitled Wooden Music. First things first. I feel like I have to address the album cover. It’s kind of odd and I am still wondering if there is any meaning behind this picture.
The perplexing nature of the album cover dissipated from my mind once I start listening to these gorgeously sparse songs. Nine times out of ten I feel like musicians that go at it with a guitar and vocals need additional instrumentation. This is one of those times where nothing else is needed. Cook adds some effects like reverb which is also implemented tastefully and not overused.
This album works for a number of reasons. It's certifiably lo-fi but fits the mood and vibe. The guitars sound as if there was little if any attention to the sound other than putting up a mic. Cook’s vocals do seem to have a little more attention to detail. His vocals sounds intimate, raw and heartfelt in a very good way. Ultimately it’s his vocals that make this album such a treat.
The music often lands somewhere between folk artist The Tallest Man on Earth and to a lesser extent Donovan. That being said the essence of Cook surely shines on these songs. The album opens with “Last Sleep” which as far as a minimal album goes has some of the most elaborate production. He implements swells and reverbs that expand the song like a balloon at times. I even think there is a female vocalist in there somewhere. It’s a formidable opener.
As much as I liked the opener I think “Igloo” has it beat. The song has a classic folk feel and has a fantastic vocal melody. There is a serene stillness in the air while listening to this song. It’s melancholy without feeling over dramatic but most of all has subtle warmth that surrounds you.
He has more success with “Don't Want To Let You Down” although the song might have been a little more effective at around four to five minutes while “Lullaby For A Hangover” is just about perfect. The instrumental “New Pastoral” has a hard time competing with the other tracks. The lo-fi vibe doesn't work as well with only guitars. He closes out the album strong with the three remaining tracks. The highlight being “All Tomorrow's Bodies.”
Wooden Music only has minor mishaps amongst some gems. Recommended.
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