Having previously played with Singing Adams and the French Drops and The Hayman Kupa Band, the anagrammatically eponymous ‘Whoa Melodic,’ aka Michael Wood, has released his first solo album featuring ten delightfully melodic indie-pop tunes. Patiently hand-crafted in his home studio — a “cupboard under the stairs” — and following a process he likens to an artist adding layers of paint to a canvas; multi-instrumentalist Michael Wood demonstrates an extraordinary knack for catchy hooks and memorable refrains reminiscent of Teenage Fanclub and Squeeze with echoes of World Party.
The songs are thoughtful, generous and upbeat with a pervasive sing-a-long foot-tapping groove running through them. There’s a lively bounce even to more reflective songs like ‘Hopeless and Lonely’ and ‘Disappointed Pessimist.’ Speaking generally to themes of friendship and the passing of time, the album opener ‘I Will Never Let You Down’ is a joyful nostalgic meditation on a carefree childhood, while ‘Hopeless and Lonely’ was inspired by the myriad chance events that determine the paths our lives may take. ‘Totally Mad’ stands out partly because it features lush beautifully arranged and played piano accompaniment which provides a brief respite from thickly layered guitars, but also, and mainly, because it demonstrates superb song craft.
All in all ‘Whoa Melodic’ the album would make a fine companion on a cold winter’s day by the fire with a mug of hot chocolate on the cosy chair.