Published Oct 18, 2018There is a marked difference between Victoria and Birds of Bellwoods' previous work. With the addition of drums, electric guitars and auxiliary instrumentation like brass and keyboards, the band's sound is much larger on this, their debut full-length, compared to the humble acoustic-folk present on EPs The Fifth and Livewires.
Victoria is Birds of Bellwoods' coming-out party as one of Canada's emerging alternative outfits. Whereas previous efforts had the leanings of early Mumford & Sons, Victoria channels the vibrancy of Only By the Night-era Kings of Leon and combines it with the Lumineers' style of anthemic writing. "Melatonin," "A Year Ago" and "Let You Go" are all viable singles that see the band build upon simple strong structure to create large, chanting choruses that are memorable, dynamic and infectious.
With Stephen Joffe leading the group with his unmistakable yearning vocal grit, the Birds of Bellwoods have cemented a sound that will act as their benchmark going forward. Banjo prominence on "My Heart Is Yours" is a casual proof that the band's folk bones are still intact, but there is a fleshed-out depth to the album that benefits from improved production, expanded instrumentation and maturing songwriting sensibilities.
Birds of Bellwoods are now the verifiable debutants of the alt-pop scene, and with Victoria, they will catch the ear of an audience larger than the folk faction. These songs are relatable, straightforward and downright joyous, which will make Birds of Bellwoods radio mainstays for the foreseeable future. (eOne)